Join us at The Writer’s Center to celebrate Martha Collins’s latest poetry collection, Casualty Reports, featuring a reading, craft talk, and conversation with poet Abdul Ali. Book signing to follow.
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Martha Collins’s eleventh volume of poetry is Casualty Reports (Pittsburgh, fall 2022); her tenth, Because What Else Could I Do (Pittsburgh, 2019), won the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award. Her previous books include three focusing on race and racism (Admit One: An American Scrapbook, White Papers, and Blue Front) and the paired volumes Night Unto Night and Day Unto Day. Her fifth collection of co-translated Vietnamese poetry, Dreaming the Mountain: Poems by Tue Sy, is due in May 2023. Collins founded the U.Mass. Boston creative writing program and later served as Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her website is marthacollinspoet.com
Abdul Ali—poet, writer, nonprofit consultant, and cultural worker—was most recently program director of the Maryland State Council’s County Arts and A&E Districts programs. And before that, he was the program coordinator at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) of a major grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the nation’s largest funder in arts, culture, and humanities in higher education. Mr. Ali has held distinguished teaching appointments at Johns Hopkins University, Howard University, and Goucher College. He is the recipient of the 2019 Ruby Grant, from the Robert Deutsch Foundation. His debut collection of poems, Trouble Sleeping, won the 2014 New Issues Poetry Book Prize. When Mr. Ali isn’t teaching writing, he is a volunteer leader with the Baltimore-based organization, THREAD, which serves academically challenged young people in the Baltimore City Public Schools. Over the past decade, he has held senior management positions at numerous literary nonprofit institutions spanning program management, communications, development, to chairing the Board of Directors of the Hurston/Wright foundation. In 2021, along with his friend and collaborator, Shamar Hill, he co-founded Thrive Arts, a service organization that seeks to provide capacity building to communities of color. He currently serves as Co-Chief Executive Officer. abdulali.net
About the Book
Stylistically innovative, deeply moving, carefully researched, Martha Collins’s eleventh volume of poetry combines her well-known attention to social issues with the elegiac mode of her previous book. She focuses here on race, gun violence, recent wars, and, in an extended sequence, the history of coal—first as her ancestors mined it, then from its geological origins to our ecologically threatened present. Casualty Reports is both indictment and lament, a work that speaks forcefully to our troubled history and our present times. Publisher’s Weekly notes: “In trying times, readers will find refuge in Collins’s intelligent and generous lyric reflections.”