Photo of Chapin Hall, home of the Cali School of Music

Creative Research Center Director Neil Baldwin Interviews Poet Mary Jo Salter

Posted in: Creative Research Center News

Poet Mary Jo Salter and Creative Research Center director Dr. Neil Baldwin discussing "Rooms of Light."

Dr. Neil Baldwin, Director of the Creative Research Center interviewed distinguished poet Mary Jo Salter at the Alexander Kasser Theater about her poetry and work as a lyricist.  

The discussion centered around Salter’s lyrics for the song cycle Rooms of Light, a collection of songs from renowned composer/jazz pianist Fred Hersch which explores various aspects of photography. The songs conjure photographs set in the Civil War, in wedding albums, X-rays, and images from paparazzi, outer space, the deep seas, Instagram, and selfies.

Several of the songs first premiered at Lincoln Center as part of the American Songbook series in 2007, and the latest production, which featured a cast of singers performing the song cycle and the Fred Hercsh Ensemble, ran at Peak Performances in October 2015.  

Mary Jo Salter is the author of seven books of poetry, all published by Alfred A. Knopf.  Her most recent are Nothing by Design (2013) and A Phone Call to the Future: Selected Poems (2008).  She is also a co-editor of The Norton Anthology of Poetry, fourth and fifth editions. An essayist, playwright, and author of a children’s book, she has been working as a lyricist with Fred Hersch for the last decade. 

Learn more about the Rooms of Light project and watch the interview here.