Episode 040: Martha Collins


Martha Collins is the author of five books and two chapbooks of poetry, and has translated two volumes of poems from the Vietnamese, one in collaboration with Thuy Dinh.  Her most recent book is Blue Front, published by Graywolf Press; it is a book-length poem based on a lynching her father witnessed when he was five years old. The book won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and was chosen as one of “25 Books to Remember from 2006” by the New York Public Library.  Her most recent publication is a chapbook, Sheer.

Collins has also been the recipient of many other awards and honors; they include fellowships from the NEA, the Bunting Institute, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Witter Bynner Foundation, as well as three Pushcart Prizes, the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, and a Lannan residency grant.  A selection of poems from Blue Front won the Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize in 2005; other selections from the book appeared in Kenyon Review and Ploughshares.

Collins founded the Creative Writing Program at UMass-Boston, and for ten years was Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College. She is currently editor-at-large for FIELD magazine and one of the editors of the Oberlin College Press.  She read from his work on February 11, 2010, in Cornell’s Goldwin Smith Hall. This interview took place the following week.