California’s Wild Coast: Poetry, Prints, and History

Paperback, 11.5 x 9,
208 pages, with over
80 full-color illustrations.
ISBN: 9781597145077.


By Tom Killion with Gary Snyder

Previously published as California’s Wild Edge: The Coast in Prints, Poetry, and History, this volume captures the beauty of the California coast from Mendocino, Point Reyes, and the San Francisco Bay down through Carmel, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, and Santa Monica. Woodcut artist Tom Killion’s prints combine exquisite color with dynamic composition to portray the coast’s ever-changing moods and diverse formations: storm tides crashing at Point Lobos, serene moonlit coves at Mendocino, fog encircling the Golden Gate Bridge. Deepening our experience are poetry and prose from Gary Snyder, as well as selections from Native Californian traditional stories, accounts of travelers, and poems by Robinson Jeffers, Robert Hass, and Jaime de Angulo. As Tamalpais Walking and The High Sierra of California did for lovers of mountains, California’s Wild Coast will delight anyone who has seen (or wants to see) the meeting of land and the Pacific.


“Tom Killion knows more about the Pacific coastline than most people, and he has the artwork to prove it.”

—John McMurtrie, San Francisco Chronicle

“In addition to being a great artist, Killion is also a serious historian and a terrific prose stylist. This career-spanning retrospective is a vibrant, soulful tribute to the Golden State.”

—Richard M. Lange, Sunset


“Renowned Grass Valley poet Snyder’s words are the light shining alongside Killion’s deep expositions and exquisitely rendered art.”

—Lou Fancher, San Jose Mercury News


“Once you see Killion’s woodcuts of natural California, you’re likely never to look at the land around you in the same way again.”

—Wallace Baine, Santa Cruz Sentinel


“The art of California’s Wild Edge…is breathtaking. Its text—a fusion of natural and human history, poems and journal entries by various writers, and personal memoir—constitutes a mini-course in California culture that delights and surprises at every turn.”

—William Ray, Steinbeck Now


“Tom Killion is a California treasure. No other artist knows the state’s wild landscapes more intimately, or captures them more faithfully. His exquisite woodcuts combine a walker’s inch-by-inch knowledge of the terrain with a compositional sense as dramatic and unerring as that of the great Japanese masters Hokusai and Hiroshige. But Killion isn’t only a wonderful artist, he’s also a first-rate writer, and both those qualities are showcased in his marvelous new book, California’s Wild Edge. Killion says that the book is ‘about finding the song of the California coast,’ and the combination of his graceful and learned historical essays, a rich sampling of poetry, and of course his spectacular art, add up to a veritable symphony of this special place where land meets sea.”

—Gary Kamiya, author, Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of California


Photo by Katsunori Yamazato

Woodcut and letterpress artist Tom Killion grew up in Marin County, California, on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais, where the rugged scenery inspired him from an early age to create landscape prints strongly influenced by traditional Japanese woodblock prints. Along with publishing fine art letterpress books, Killion holds a PhD in African history from Stanford University and has taught history at several Bay Area universities. He is the founder of The Quail Press and his extensively illustrated books include 28 Views of Mount Tamalpais, The Coast of California, and Walls: A Journey Across Three Continents. Killion and Gary Snyder previously collaborated on The High Sierra of California, which was published by Heyday in 2002 and Tamalpais Walking, published in 2009. You can find out more about his artwork at

Gary Snyder is a poet, author, scholar, cultural critic, and professor emeritus of the University of California at Davis who has published sixteen books of poetry and prose, including The Gary Snyder Reader (1952–1998) . He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His Turtle Island won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1975, and his book-length poem Mountains and Rivers Without End won the Bollingen Prize in poetry in 1997. In 2008 he was awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement.