Martha Collins & Lee Sharkey

Thursday, March 2, 2017, at 7:00 pm, poets Martha Collins and Lee Sharkey will continue the tenth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)

Martha Collins

Martha Collins

Martha Collins is the author, most recently, of Admit One: An American Scrapbook (Pittsburgh, 2016); Day Unto Day (Milkweed, 2014); White Papers (Pitt Poetry Series, 2012); and Blue Front (Graywolf, 2006), a book-length poem based on a lynching her father witnessed when he was five years old. Collins has also published four earlier collections of poems, three books of co-translations from the Vietnamese, and two chapbooks.

Both White Papers and Blue Front won Ohioana awards. Blue Front also won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and was chosen as one of “25 Books to Remember from 2006” by the New York Public Library. Collins’s 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, a Lannan residency grant, and the Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize.

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. In spring 2010, she served as Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University.

Lee Sharkey

Lee Sharkey

Lee Sharkey’s publications include six chapbooks and five full-length volumes: Walking Backwards (Tupelo Press, 2016), Calendars of Fire (Tupelo Press, 2013); A Darker, Sweeter String (Off the Grid Press, 2008); To A Vanished World (Puckerbrush, 1995), a poem sequence in response to Roman Vishniac’s photographs of Eastern European Jewry in the years just preceding the Nazi Holocaust; and farmwife (Puckerbrush Press, 1977).

Lee is the recipient of the Abraham Sutzkever Centennial Award in Translation (2013), the 2010 Maine Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Fellowship in Literary Arts, the RHINO Editors’ Prize, the Shadowgraph Poetry Prize, Zone 3‘s Rainmaker Award in Poetry, and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance’s Distinguished Achievement Award. Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Drunken Boat, FIELD, Kenyon Review, Massachusetts Review, Nimrod, The Pinch, Prairie Schooner, Seattle Review, and many other literary magazines. She is the senior editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal, one of the country’s oldest and most respected poetry journals.

Calendars of Fire was a Split This Rock Recommended Poetry Book of 2013, and was a finalist for the Sheila Motton, Eric Hoffer, and Maine Literary Awards.

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ONCE WE WERE / Martha Collins

once we were immigrants
given to thought we were
given the right to be
taking what wasn’t our
making what wasn’t
who wasn’t us were

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take take take
off your shoes your taken
from shoes your take
down shoes your
shoes on the table
your take—

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table the con-
versation the talk the
top of the table steeple
sky for just a minute be
quiet listen: the shifting
crumbs on the table

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shiftless we said the
shifty eyes gave them
away we didn’t see
the less than dress
a shuffle slip as in
under another shaft

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shaft to have to hold
an arrow handle for hammer
column to build a shaft
of light our enlightened
missile we own the whole
mine we own the shaft

__

mine! we could not stop
the baby mine! we would
not stop ourselves mine
it drill it strip it right
down to hear us making
taking over taken out

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stop for a listen for
once we were may be our
getting forgotten a shifting
to taken mistaken to get
set for the coming all
hands on the table

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ARCHERY / Lee Sharkey

A man
dreams with
his fist while a
woman dreams of
a soft green field where
an archer stands in profile
at a middle distance taking aim
with his bow. She is starting to
wonder if he will turn toward her,
if he is her slim emissary, when the
man shouts, thrashes, punches the
air, and brings his fist down on
her shoulder. She wakes, yells
him down. He asks, Did I do
that, or did you dream it?
She thinks, thanks to him
she will remember the
archer, the marriage
bed turning on
the arrow.

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