Ostensibly a book of poems about sailing islands oceans and yes salt Kate Dayton's spare imagery conjures the tissue of lives that continue day after day in the midst of devastating losses. With a poet's sensitivity to how language can touch inner and outer worlds simultaneously Dayton delivers a powerful rendering of experience that's as elemental as salt itself.
References to the Apostle Islands abound though the Great Salt Lake the Salton Sea and the Aegean also form the backdrop for reflections on the flight of birds oil spills and the tying of knots. Some of the descriptive passages are almost surreal as spring buds open to dark hallways or we climb down a hatch to find the moon.
Poet Thomas R. Smith describes Salt Heart as "metaphorically rich yet faithful to the actual " and Jim Moore notes how its elemental language provides a "deep context for both the grief and the joy at the heart of our lives."
In 2004 Pudding House Publications released Kate Hallett Dayton's chapbook Missing. Previously she received an Award of Merit in the ByLine Press Chapbook Competition and ten poems from Missing earned her a finalist position for the Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize. Two poems from Salt Heart appeared in Nimrod's Awards issue in 2012. She has also received a Nolte-Miller Scholarship in fiction from the Split Rock Arts Program at the University of Minnesota and an Art in the Wild fiction fellowship from University of California Davis. She traveled to Belgium on a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant to do research on her novel Parallax. She has taught writing for COMPAS the Loft Literary Center Hamline University Normandale Community College and Century College.