- Publisher: Gibbs Smith
- Available in: Paperback
- Published: September 1, 1991
The Arrangement of Space, winner of the 1990 Peregrine Smith Poetry Competition, is comprised of three poetic sequences.
Rich with lyric music and luminous with thought, The Arrangement of Space further establishes Martha Collins’ important role in American poetry. In her poems, dream and world, image and idea, sound and sense merge. This is the work of a poet blessed with a fierce intelligence and marked by a troubling imagination.
Martha Collins’ poems are excellent, musical, a little quirky, and endlessly fascinating. The Arrangement of Space will prove a durable and fascinating companion.” —Bill Matthews
Comprised of a narrative fragment called ‘Women in American Literature,’ 30 lyrics entitled ‘A Book of Days,’ and a series of six thematically linked ‘suites,’ Collins’s newest collection offers the reader an impressionistic overview of a poetic mind.” —Publishers Weekly
This is a fine, disturbing, mature body of work, well worth reading and reading again.” —Laurel Blossom,Small Press
In The Arrangement of Space, we move through a mystical and highly politicized landscape fraught with danger but also providing abrupt awakenings to hope. Martha Collins’s voice is a blade boring down to essence. It is brilliant, spare, and powerful.” — Sojourner
from A Book of Days
8Christmas Afternoon They've drained the old pond, they're digging it deeper. Two derricks face each other across the mud, stumps, rubble, brush, an oval of water, wrinkled like skin, that yesterday was rain. All right. I cried last night when the choir sang and almost cried when the brass band played in the almost April weather of late December. This morning not the want, but the wanting not. Across the street, wind chimes chime. On the other bank three small trees are growing together: an I, a Y, an intricate shape, a woman leaning into the wind, arms raised, breasts, straining against the limbs of the others, who hold her there. Everyone alive in the world is very nearly the same age. I am still the baby in that house.
In the rain, the bark of the plane trees shines in the colors, the shapes of camouflage: trees looking like men looking like trees. When the sun shines, the trees shade the grass a darker green, the thick veins of giant leaves, a giant's hands— Terrain with deep cracks, that old puzzle--- In California, it rained on the queen and the president, it rained on the good and the bad, it rained on me. In the jungle, it rained, it has rained, it rains on bodies fallen like leaves, on bodies that walk— In the rain, the shadows disappear. In a larger rain, things are lost. In the largest rains, borders emerge— A puzzle coming apart, becoming the world.