Q&A with Poetry Contributor David Salner

David Salner has worked as iron ore miner, steelworker, machinist, bus driver, cab driver, longshoreman, teacher, baseball usher, librarian. His writing appears in Threepenny Review, Salmagundi, Beloit Poetry Journal, North American Review, Nashville Review, and many other magazines. He is the author of Blue Morning Light (2016, Pond Road Press).

His poem “A Marker” will appear in the Winter 2018 issue of Carve. Preorder or subscribe by Sunday, January 14, for special savings and discounts.


What was it about the particular memory described in “A Marker” that drew you to write a poem?

I’d told the story the poem is based on to friends but always as a comical incident about a little boy who didn’t know the power of a kite in the wind. More recently, I realized it was a story about my father. He had one chance to teach his little boy to fly a kite, and his little boy ruined it.

What is your favorite line or sentence in the poem, and what do you love about it?

My favorite image is the harrowed grain. As a child I lived in the country, and those cold fall days after the harvest stick in my memory.

You’ve worked in a wide variety of careers; how do you think this aspect of your life has influenced your writing?

The fact that I’ve worked so many different jobs all over the country enables me to look back with sympathy at those two little figures, father and son, fumbling in the countryside on a cold day.

Which poets do you return to again and again for inspiration or guidance? 

Philip Levine is my favorite poet. But among recent poets I also like Dorianne Laux and Lucille Clifton. Other poets I return to again and again are Donne, Melville, Whitman, and E.A. Robinson. Craft is important but what really counts for me is experience and insight.