Donald Hall’s “Remembering Joe Salerno”

Originally published as the forward to Only Here:

It was a lively time for poetry at the University of Michigan in the early seventies.  My friend Bert Hornback set up regular Tuesday afternoon readings, which were well-attended — a hundred at the worst, four hundred on good days.  Robert Bly and Galway Kinnell came every year; Wendell Berry, John Logan, Denise Levertov, Adrienne Rich.  Joe was always there — with David Tucker and other Ann Arbor Poets.  There were readings at coffee houses, bookstores and bars.  Poetry was lively and ordinary. Continue reading

For Evan

Today I posted a poem that makes me cry every single time I read it.  I could read this poem 100 times a day and I would cry 100 times a day. But not because I miss my dad (which I do) but because it reminds me of my own son.  I know this poem is about my brother, and so I’m sure when he reads it he feels something quite different.  But for me, this poems transplants me into my son’s bedroom, at his bedside, kissing him goodnight. Continue reading

Reading James Wright’s Last Book for the first time

lying in a hammock

My favorite James Wright poem…at least until this weekend when I run out and buy every single one of his books.

This morning I created a new page on the website for my father’s poem entitled “Reading James Wright’s Last Book.”  It is a beautiful poem and I have always loved the imagery of the last Great Blue Whale sounding for the last time.  Continue reading

A poem for a Monday morning

I stumbled upon this poem early this morning.  I hadn’t read it in many many years – definitely had not read it since becoming a mom myself.  It made me smile.

My father did not live to see me become a mother, but reading poems like this make me feel like we can share in this parenting journey together – and enjoy those few precious moments of solitude (with a cup of fragrant tea!).

No Wife, No Kids, No Work

I wake alone
And throw my rested arms
Across the bed.
Not a sound in the house –
The floor is still asleep
Dreaming it is the ceiling.Opening and closing
My eye, I float for a long time,
Basking like a turtle
On the sea of late sunlight.
Later, wearing slippers
and a frayed blue robe,
I cook my breakfast.
In the sunlit, empty kitchen,
I feel like dancing
To the great silence.  With a fork
in one hand and a cup
Of fragrant tea in the other,
Restored to a separate
Life, I stand at the stove
And watch as the eggs
Fry wildly in the noisy butter.



best. dad. ever.