Crushed Wild Mint is a collection of poems embodying land love and ancestral wisdom, deeply rooted to the poet’s motherland and their experience as a parent, herbalist and careful observer of the patterns and power of their territory. Jess Housty grapples with the natural and the supernatural, transformation and the hard work of living that our bodies are doing—held by mountains, by oceans, by ancestors and by the grief and love that come with communing.
Housty’s poems are textural—blossoms, feathers, stubborn blots of snow—and reading them is a sensory offering that invites the reader’s whole body to be transported in the experience. Their writing converses with mountains, animals and all our kin beyond the human realm as they sit beside their ancestors’ bones and move throughout the geography of their homeland. Housty’s exploration of history and futurity, ceremony and sexuality, grieving and thriving invites us to look both inward and outward to redefine our sense of community...
Through these poems we can explore living and loving as a practice, and placemaking as an essential part of exploring our humanity and relationality.
About the author
Jess Housty ('Cúagilákv) is a parent, writer and grassroots activist with Heiltsuk (Indigenous) and mixed settler ancestry. They serve their community as an herbalist and land-based educator alongside broader work in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors. They are inspired and guided by relationships with their homelands, their extended family and their non-human kin, and they are committed to raising their children in a similar framework of kinship and land love. They reside and thrive in their unceded ancestral territory in the community of Bella Bella, BC.
“When the mountains of your territory are your ancestors, you paint the landscapes as Jess Housty does in this evocative, powerful collection of poetry: in the language of ceremony as taut as the inner surface of a mussel shell when the meat is stripped away. Housty’s hyperlocality is precise medicine, an expansive, generous meditation on the mutual care of mountains, the forgiving veins of rivers, all the liminal territories and beings soaked in the verdant magic of the Pacific Northwest coast.”
I return to read and then stop to wonder, return to read and still wonder: How is this so true? Let these words love you. They’ll sing.
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas