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  Mary Jo Salter
Mary Jo Salter is Emily Dickinson Senior Lecturer in the Humanities at Mount Holyoke College and Vice-President of the Poetry Society of America. Her five books of poems, all published by Knopf, are:
Mary Jo Salter - Photo credit: Michael Malyszko
Photo credit:
Michael Malyszko
Henry Purcell in Japan (1985), Unfinished Painting (1989; winner of the Lamont Prize); Sunday Skaters (1994; nominated for the National Book Critics' Circle Award in Poetry); A Kiss in Space (1999); and Open Shutters (2003; a New York Times Notable Book of the Year). Previous collaborations with composer Fred Hersch include the song "I've Got Your Picture" for soprano Harolyn Blackwell and baritone Chris Nomura (commissioned by San Francisco Performances, 2005); and "Please Smile", (commissioned by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, 2006). At present she is writing lyrics for Mr. Hersch for a staged song cycle, Hold Still! She lives with her family in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Night Thoughts

Mary Jo Salter

The hunchback is curled
all night in my shut closet.
I am six years old.


Dark in the cabin.
No lamp but the blue moon of
the computer screen.


Pebbles on the beach:
the waves, without swallowing,
deliver a speech.


I'd need a furnace
(if I were a glass blower)
to make icicles.


She's alone in bed.
In an earlier time zone
he dines a lover.


A page of haiku:
among the caught fireflies, one
lights the whole bottle.

Copyright Mary Jo Salter.
From Open Shutters,
published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2003

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