The Catastrophe of Rainbows
Martha Collins is the author of 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' 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.
“The Catastrophe of Rainbows is that rare thing, a book which is mysteriously familiar even on a first reading and new and surprising on each successive encounter. . . As the subtle inter-connections among the poems clarify and expand, it is as if one inhabits a seamless arc of color. And also sound. . . But it is the poet as story-teller who most amazes me. Like a magician, she tells us what she is about to do and, as she tells it, it happens.” –Peter Klappert
“I admire the fierce purity of Martha Collin’s language and, more, the sardonic imagination with which she explores and elaborates alternative—and sometimes sinister—fictions about the world. . . Her Catastrophe of Rainbows is an enlightening event.” –Sandra Gilbert
“Martha Collins is a poet whose command of craft rises beautifully to meet the needs of her vision. . . The content which informs, which forms, these poems doesn’t sound like someone else’s. . . Her diction and images often have a dense, close woven texture, as of tapestry. In the long title-poem this is especially true.” –Denise Levertov
Cleveland State University Poetry Center
Collins, Martha, "The Catastrophe of Rainbows" (1998). CSU Poetry Center Books. 41.