The hardest sweet is sharp to the tongue, painful, cutting, and often divine. The poems in Jessica Barksdale’s collection Grim Honey follow thin paths of grief, up through steep switchbacks and down the rocky declines into the meadows, where for a moment, we can pause and remember before moving on. The speakers in these poems open to their sorrows and passions and then push forward into stories that—while understood—are still evolving. Barksdale moves through issues of family, love, and death, delving into what is beautiful as completely as what is not to show the fullness of life.
"Grim Honey explores the messiness of the human body and a constellation of losses. Barksdale writes with great verve and energy about every subject from family to travel to death. There’s an urgency to these poems, a persistence in all things, whether it’s the writing itself or the cataloguing of the world’s beauties and tragedies. She knows how to turn a curse into a benediction, an old kitchen into the site of new memories, each pain into the story of a deeply lived life."
- Traci Brimhall, author of Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod and Rookery