Zoom Rooms Poems
The timeless and timely intersect in poems about our unique historical moment, from the prizewinning poet. In Zoom Rooms, Mary Jo Salter considers the strangeness of our recent existence, together with the enduring constants in our lives. The title poem, a series of sonnet-sized Zoom meetings—a classroom, a memorial service, an encounter with a new baby in the family—finds humor and pathos in our age of social distancing and technology-induced proximity. Salter shows too how imagination collapses time and space: in “Island Diaries,” the pragmatist Robinson Crusoe meets on the beach a shipwrecked dreamer from an earlier century, Shakespeare’s Prospero. Poems that meditate on objects—a silk blouse, a hot water bottle—address the human need to heal and console. Our paradoxically solitary but communal experiences find expression, too, in poems about art, from a Walker Evans photograph to a gilded Giotto altarpiece. In these beautiful new poems, Salter directs us to moments we may otherwise miss, reminding us that alertness is itself a form of gratitude.