Sun & Urn

Poems by Christopher Salerno
Selected by Thomas Lux

Poetry that pushes beyond the tragedies of loss to the wilder realms of renewal and meaning


“If a poet ends a poem early in a book with, ‘And always a hellhound be,’ I keep reading. If, several poems later, a speaker is burning his deceased father’s toupee in the yard, I keep reading—harder, closer. Christopher Salerno’s Sun & Urn is a highly accomplished (he has learned his trade!), a madly imaginative, and, ultimately, a brilliant and deeply human book. Read it, please, thrice!”
—Thomas Lux

"In his haunting fourth collection, Salerno weaves a morbid kind of melancholia into the mundane and negotiates the experience of loss and a lack of fulfillment...The poems disquietingly hum with questions of what to do after death- whether one's own or another's. For whatever simple answers the poet seems to have for great unspoken questions-'There are ways to die/ without a findable body'- Salerno wields just as many queries, yielding a book ripe with eerie and meaning-filled unknowing."
Publisher's Weekly (starred review)


Christopher Salerno’s fourth collection of poems, Sun & Urn, is a book made from the wild stuff of grief and loss. Readers will find in these lyric poems a peculiar force pushing beyond the obvious. Sad, tender, whimsical, this book mines the poet’s personal journey through grief for a universal look at how we as human beings handle our greatest losses. Coursing through this work is the clarity of vulnerability. With an idiosyncratic and inquisitive lyricism, Sun & Urn examines, repositions, and makes art from the odd scraps left over after a father’s sudden death, from infertility and divorce, and from the hope of new love.

"Wild Lemons"

We wake like bees and peel a lemon.

Then there is a glowing.

Do you want to eat it wedge by wedge?

Pull the pith off, keep the seeds.

Lift a blue crayon, ring

each other’s mouths in blue. Close

your eyes I will close my eyes.

What, waking, have we missed?
Georgia Poetry Prize

A Bruce and Georgia McEver Fund for the Arts and Environment publication

Page count: 80 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $19.95

buy button
View Shopping Cart

Christopher Salerno resides in Caldwell, New Jersey, where he serves as associate professor in the creative writing and MFA programs at William Paterson University.