Martha Collins’s tenth book of poetry, Because What Else Could I Do (Pittsburgh, 2019), won the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award. Her previous books include two volumes of linked sequences, Night Unto Night and Day Unto Day (Milkweed, 2018 & 2014), and three works that focus on race and racism: Admit One: An American Scrapbook (Pittsburgh, 2016), White Papers (Pittsburgh, 2012), and Blue Front (Graywolf, 2006).
Blue Front, a book-length poem based on a lynching the poet’s father witnessed as a child, won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was chosen as one of “25 Books to Remember from 2006” by the New York Public Library; both Blue Front and White Papers won Ohioana awards. Collins’ other awards 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, the Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize, and residency grants from the Lannan Foundation, the Siena Art Institute, the Santa Fe Art Institute, and the Women’s International Study Center.
An active translator, Collins has also published four volumes of co-translations from the Vietnamese and co-edited, with Kevin Prufer, Into English: Poems, Translations, Commentaries (Graywolf, 2017). She also co-edited (with Prufer and Martin Rock) Catherine Breese Davis: On the Life & Work of an American Master (2015), and a volume of essays on the poet Jane Cooper (Michigan, 2019, with Celia Bland).
Born in Nebraska and raised in Iowa, Collins was educated at Stanford University and the University of Iowa. She founded the Creative Writing Program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and for ten years was Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College. She served as Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University in 2010, and currently teaches (and is available for) short-term workshops. Editor-at-large for FIELD magazine and one of the editors of the Oberlin College Press, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.