WCW – Christopher Salerno

Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts

Plus the words of William Carlos Williams
and open readings from the floor


Christopher Salerno is the author of four books of poems and the editor of Saturnalia Books. His newest collection Sun & Urn, selected by Thomas Lux for the Georgia Poetry Prize, was recently published by University of Georgia Press. A NJ State Council on the Arts fellow, his poems have appeared in The New York Times, American Poetry Review, Guernica, Prairie Schooner, Jubilat, Fence, and elsewhere. He’s an Associate Professor at William Paterson University in NJ where he teaches in the B.A. and M.F.A. Programs in Creative and Professional Writing.


You climb a tree to eat the day’s fruit
until the boughs crap out
because a body must test the air
to be art. Braid legs with branches
until the sun dulls. I am no docent
but so much depends upon
proper diffusion of light. It’s not
the moon, though it pursues you. It’s how
faces in paintings are lit like dead
relatives in dreams, their eyes
pairs of dark gems. Caravaggio
painted over several of his apostles
before giving Bacchus those sick eyes,
that crown of vines. We like this
kind of art, but to buy it would cost us
everything. Like listening to the story
of our own afterlife: once the stars
pull out and frost hits the field.
Honey crystalizes in the jar.
We vie for a view of something real—
oleander or our old selves—
but both contain poison.

Contact: John Barrale – john.barrale@gmail.com

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