November 13, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass -Popular local poet Mary Jo Salter will read from her work at 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 1, at Amherst Books, 8 Main Street in Amherst. The event, co-sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center, is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The author of five books of poetry, Salter "challenges us with the discovery that something lucid, forthright and fantastically undisheveled might also be sublime," according to the New York Times Book Review. Her most recent collection, Open Shutters (2003), explores the daily flickering of darkness and light. Donna Seaman describes Salter's poetry as "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." Poet Carolyn Kizer wrote of a previous collection, A Kiss in Space (1999), "These are poems of breathtaking elegance: in formal control, in intellectual subtlety, in learning lightly displayed." In the Times Literary Supplement, Les Murray called this collection "the book of poetry I loved best this year."

Salter is Emily Dickinson Senior Lecturer in the Humanities at Mount Holyoke College. Her other books include Henry Purcell in Japan (1985), Unfinished Painting (the 1989 Lamont Selection for the year's most distinguished second volume of poetry), Sunday Skaters (nominated in 1994 for the National Book Critics Circle Award), and a children's book, The Moon Comes Home (1989). Salter is a coeditor of The Norton Anthology of Poetry and has received many awards, including a year in France on an Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship. She is on the board of the Amy Clampitt Trust, the Bogliasco Foundation, and The Kenyon Review, and has been vice president of the Poetry Society of America since 1995.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. For more information see the Center's website,, or call Amherst Books at 413/256-1547.