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October 26, 2012

Martha Collins to Read at the Poetry Center

1NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—The Poetry Center at Smith College will present a reading by acclaimed poet Martha Collins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 13, in Stoddard Hall Auditorium. The reading is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.

Collins will read from “Blue Front,” her book-length poem based on the lynching =her father witnessed as a child in 1909, and from “White Papers,” the subsequent volume that explores what it means to be “white” in a multi-racial society. Poet Thomas Sayers Ellis praised her latest collection as “honest and powerful.”

“Martha Collins transforms the history of America's troubled racial roots and, most importantly, her own, into a slide show of non-capitalized flesh. This book is the one we knew was out there but had rarely read,” he wrote.

Her poems wrestle with injustice, domestic violence, political deception, and war. Collins has said that she was drawn to poetry rather than prose, because she’s always been “uncomfortable with certainty.”  This is reflected in her style, known for its use of fragmentation, stretched and broken syntax, and a kind of stuttering, morphing repetition. 

Collins’ next collection, “Day Unto Day,” is due out next year. She has also co-translated poems from Vietnamese, with two books in print, “The Women Carry River Water” by Nguyen Quang Thieu and “Green Rice” by Lam Thi My Da. A third, “Black Stars: Poems by Ngo Tu Lap,” is forthcoming. 

Founder of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Collins spent 10 years as Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College and is currently an editor of the Oberlin College Press in addition to serving as editor-at-large for FIELD magazine. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Bunting Institute.

Born in Omaha, Neb., Collins earned her bachelor’s degree at Stanford University and doctorate from the University of Iowa. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Collins’s reading will be followed by a book sale and signing. For further information, contact Jennifer Blackburn at (413) 585-4891

For disability access information or to request accommodations, call (413) 585-2407.  A limited number of assistive listening devices are available. If you’d like to reserve one, please email Jennifer Blackburn at at least one day prior to the reading.  To request a sign language interpreter specifically, call (413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail  All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.



Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190

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