Collins, Martha

Born: 1940

Ohio connection: Resident


Poet, translator, and editor, Martha Collins was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1940. She earned a B.A. at Stanford University and holds a PhD. from the University of Iowa.  She has published books of poetry, including Admit One: An American Scrapbook, Day Unto Day, White Papers, and Blue Front, a book-length poem based on a lynching her father witnessed when he was five years old. Collins has published several chapbooks and has co-translated several collections by Vietnamese poets, including Black Stars by Ngo Tu Lap; Green Rice by Lam Thi My Da; and The Women Carry River Water, by Nguyen Quang Thieu.

In 1979, Collins founded the Creative Writing Program at University of Massachusetts Boston. In 1997, she became the Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College until her retirement in 2007.  Collins was Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University in spring 2010. She is currently an editor for Oberlin College Press and editor-at-large for Field magazine.

Blue Front won both the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the Ohioana Poetry Award (2007); White Papers won the Ohioana Poetry Award, 2013; American Literary Translators Association Finalist Award, 1998; Pushcart Prize, 1998, 1996, 1985; Gordon Barber Memorial Award, Poetry Society of America, 1992; Peregrine Smith Poetry Competition for “The Arrangement of Space,” 1990; Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, Poetry Society of America, 1990 for History of a Small Life on a Windy Planet.