The Magazine

Poet of Reason

Mary Jo Salter rewards her readers with clarity and wit.

Sep 15, 2008, Vol. 14, No. 01 • By WYATT PRUNTY
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His mother nudges, tells him to be polite

to the other children. "Come on, Pete, let's dance--"

But he won't budge. His feet pinned to the ground,

he looks down from the hill to where he swam

today, in a pond now deepening to a shade

that looks like bedtime, that looks like the dark place

you hide in under the covers, when afternoon--

such a happy, happy one--is gone, and he

will not be unseated.

Pete could give it a few more years, but who will not understand the way he feels?

Mary Jo Salter's humor complements her reason. The quiet skepticism of her vision is balanced by an imagination that lives in others,
frequently in the endearing foibles of others. Wit, humor, melody, narrative, and argument are just some of the means by which Salter's poems reward their readers.

A Phone Call to the Future is an impressive example of how much meaning there is for both parties in a call. This is a call worth taking.

Wyatt Prunty, Carlton professor of English at the University of the South (Sewanee), is the author, most recently, of Unarmed and Dangerous: New and Selected Poems.