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SHJ Issue 13
Fall 2015

Guest Poetry Editor: Issue 13: Ron Salisbury

Compiled by Clare MacQueen

Portrait of Ron Salisbury, by Julianne Meisner
Photograph by
Julianne Meisner

In the wake of Steve Kowit’s passing, we are grateful to Ron Salisbury for agreeing to serve as our Guest Poetry Editor. In this, our thirteenth issue, he has chosen to publish 36 poems, by 22 poets.

Salisbury and Kowit were long-time close friends, having met 36 years ago in San Diego, and they studied and appreciated and argued poetry between themselves ever since. His tribute to Kowit in SHJ-12 is a snapshot of their friendship. And Kowit published seven of Salisbury’s poems over four issues of SHJ (4, 6, 7, and 9).

Salisbury describes himself as a writer who has integrated his poetry with his business life for decades. “Now, three wives deep, four children long, and assorted careers past,” he continues to study, publish, and write in San Diego where he is a student in the MFA program at San Diego State University. He also teaches workshops for San Diego Writers, Ink and other groups, on such subjects as writing, getting published, and how to give a poetry reading.

His writing has appeared in Eclipse, The Cape Reader, Serving House Journal, The San Diego Reader, Alaska Quarterly Review, Spitball, Soundings East, The Briar Cliff Review, and Hiram Poetry Review.

Cover of Miss Desert Inn by Ron Salisbury

Awards include a nomination for a Pushcart Prize, and an Honorable Mention in San Diego CityBeat’s Fiction 101 Contest. In addition, his collection of poems Miss Desert Inn (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) won the Main Street Rag Poetry Prize, was a Semi-Finalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, finalist for the ABZ First Book Contest, and First Runner-up for the Brittingham and Pollak Prize in Poetry.

Main Street Rag Publishing Co.
(November 2015)


Ron Salisbury was born in 1943 in Bangor, Maine. As a child, he wanted to be Robert Frost. However, the rural isolation could not support his literary ambitions, and as a young man he moved to New York City. He had decided to pursue professional acting but, as he says, proved to be “lousy” at it.

A friend called from Las Vegas to say he needed a pinochle partner, so Salisbury drove across the country. When his car broke down in Vegas, he ended up staying for a decade. At first, he worked as a pit boss managing a keno game at a casino, where he met and married a showgirl. From his father-in-law, Salisbury learned real-estate appraising, which he put into practice after his wife and he moved to San Diego. There, he got a job at a bank and eventually was promoted to director. For 17 years, he traveled the world, assessing international properties for his bank.

When he lost that job, he decided to found a line of espresso bars called Deaf Dog Coffee, which led to a spin-off clothing line and an award for Salisbury in 1999 for Small Business Association Businessman of the Year. However, his espresso business eventually was edged out by Starbucks, and he returned to writing poetry.

In addition to teaching workshops on writing (as mentioned above), Salisbury is a speaker at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Diego, where he delivers high school lectures on about 20 different subjects in fashion. He also designs interiors as a side-line.

More about Salisbury and his writing:

Petaluma Poetry Walk on Sunday, an article by Katie Watts in (18 September 2014)

He’s a freshman, an article by Richard Freeland in The Daily Aztec (8 November 2013)

• Entries for Salisbury’s work from SHJ’s Index of Authors:

Title of Work   Genre Issue
A Tribute   Nonfiction 12
A Walk With Chet   Poem 4
Chasing   Poem 4
Entre Chien et Loup   Poem 9
Gloria   Poem 7
Hearing Aids   Poem 6
Not the First   Poem 9
Severance Pay   Poem 9

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury