Renée Ashley describes Salt as an attempt, in part, to mythologize a period of the 1950s and early 1960s in the California Bay Area suburb where she grew up, “a racially rich, economically varied section of town east of El Camino Real—the major road and the ‘tracks’, so to speak, that one grew up on the right or wrong side of.” Many of the poems in the collection explore Ashley’s adjustment to the East Coast after a virtual lifetime in “that one place.” They deal with landscape, with marriage, with the insight distance seems to lend to hindsight, with amusement, with regret.
“Renée Ashley can tune our ears to the thoughts of a wounded sparrow, to the sibilance of snow on stone, even to the song rocks make as they thaw in spring. . . . She wakes us to an intricate, enthralling world behind, beneath, beyond the one we thought we knew, alive with particulars, laced with compassion, luminous with humor.”—Donald Finkel