Knopf Publishing Group, Paperback, 9780375710148, 96pp.
Publication Date: January 25, 2005
Open Shutters also calls to mind the lens of a camera in the villanelle School Pictures or in the stirring sequence In the Guesthouse, which, inspired by photographs of a family across three generations, offers at once a social history of America and a love story.
Darkness and light interact throughout the book in poems about September 11; about a dog named Shadow; about a blind centenarian who still pretends to read the paper; about a woman shaken by the death of her therapist. A section of light verse highlights the wit and grace that have long distinguished Salter's most serious work.
Fittingly, the volume fools the eye once more by closing with An Open Book, in which a Muslim family praying at a funeral seek consolation in the pages formed by their upturned palms.
Open Shutters is the achievement of a remarkable poet, whose concerns and stylistic range continue to grow, encompassing ever larger themes, becoming ever more open.
From the Hardcover edition.
Open Shutters (2003)
“[Salter] . . . challenges us with the discovery that something lucid, forthright, and fantastically undisheveled might also be sublime.”
–Stephen Metcalf, New York Times Book Review
“Salter . . . performs with deep pleasure and arresting artistry the paired arts of avid observation and the transformation of hectic experience into crystalline images, golden threads of narrative, and startling extrapolations . . Salter’s moves are so precise and gravity-defying, so astonishingly eloquent, the exhilarated reader feels as though she’s watching a gymnast perform intricate, risky, and unpredictable sequences, nailing each one perfectly.
–Donna Seaman, Booklist
“A mature poet at the top of her form. . . Delightful.”
–Rochelle Ratner, Library Journal
A Kiss in Space (1999)
“The book of poetry I loved best this year was A Kiss in Space, full of moving adventurous work.”
–Les Murray, Times Literary Supplement
"These are poems of breathtaking elegance: in formal control, in intellectual subtlety, in learning lightly displayed."
Sunday Skaters (1994)
“A beautiful book, a major phase in the career of an important poet . . . In these poems a quality of close but apparently effortless observation is backed up by a strong and deep moral sense.”
Unfinished Painting (1989)
“Mary Jo Salter’s work embodies the marriage of superb craftsmanship to the tragic sense of reality, which is the formula of true poetry.”
Henry Purcell in Japan (1985)
“A poetry full of alertness, tact, credible feeling, and an unforced gaiety of form . . . For all her modesty of tone, she has a range of awareness and response, which, in a time when much poetry has shrunk to the merely personal, is refreshingly large.”