Mary Jo Salter, “Poetry Slalom”

Much less
the slam
than the slalom
gives me a thrill:
that solemn, no-fuss
Olympian skill
in skirting flag after flag
of the bloody obvious;
the fractional

lag,
while speeding downhill,
at the key
moment,
in a sort of whole-
body trill:
the note repeated,
but elaborated,
more touching and more

elevated
for seeming the thing
to be evaded.

maryjo-salter.jpgFrom A Phone Call to the Future: New and Selected Poems. Other new poems in this collection include “Point of View” and “A Phone Call to the Future,” naturally enough—you can hear Salter read that poem as well.

In an interview with New Letters, Salter describes her creative relationship with poetic form: “I’m interested in trying to find… an appropriate way of saying something. So, for me, temperamentally, rhyme and meter are pleasing. They help me say what I want to say, and I suppose that’s been true ever since I was in college… [I]t’s a hard balance to write poetry that does sound like a human being wrote it, and, on the other hand, not to be in any sense anti-intellectual, or to eschew your intellectual interests.”

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12 April 2008 | poetry |