Dawn Lundy Martin is an American poet and essayist. She is the author of four books of poems: Good Stock Strange Blood, winner of the 2019 Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry; Life in a Box is a Pretty Life, which won the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry; DISCIPLINE, A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering, and three limited edition chapbooks. Her nonfiction can be found in n+1, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Believer, and Best American Essays 2019. Martin is the Toi Derricotte Endowed Chair of African American Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics.
Dawn Lundy Martin is the Toi Derricotte Endowed Chair of African American Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of several books and chapbooks including: A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering (University of Georgia Press, 2007), selected by Carl Phillips for the Cave Canem Prize; DISCIPLINE (Nightboat Books, 2011), which was selected by Fanny Howe for the Nightboat Books Poetry Prize and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Candy, a limited edition letterpress chapbook (Albion Books, 2011); The Main Cause of the Exodus (O’clock Press 2014); and The Morning Hour, selected by C.D. Wright for the 2003 Poetry Society of America’s National Chapbook Fellowship. Life in a Box is a Pretty Life was published by Nightboat Books in 2015 and won the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry. Her latest collection, Good Stock / Strange Blood (Coffee House Press 2017), won the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Her essays can be found in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, n+1, The Believer, Ploughshares, The Chicago Review, boundary 2, and Best American Essays 2019. She is currently at work on a memoir.
In 2016, Martin co-founded, with poet Terrance Hayes, the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP) at the University of Pittsburgh. She serves as the center's Director. A creative think tank for African American and African diasporic poetry and poetics, CAAPP brings together a diversity of poets, writers, scholars, artists, and community members who are thinking through black poetics as a field that investigates the contemporary moment as it is impacted by historical artistic and social repressions and their respondent social justice movements.
With Vivien Labaton, Martin also co-edited The Fire This Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism (Anchor Books, 2004), which uses a gender lens to describe and theorize young activist work in the U.S. She is the co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation (New York), which was for 15 years the only young activist feminist organization in the U.S. Martin continues her activist work in collaboration with foundations and activist organizations to research and strategize about protecting the lives and freedoms of women and girls. Using intersectional lenses that bring together feminism with racial justice and LGBTQ rights, Martin works to provide analytical frameworks that assist philanthropic organizations in strategic philanthropy to level the playing field and animate social justice reforms.
Martin’s current creative-scholarly work operates at the intersecting fields of experimental poetics, video installation, and performance. Letters to the Future: BLACK WOMEN / Radical WRITING, co-edited with Erica Hunt, was published in 2018 by Kore Press. Her video installation work has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. In 2016 she was awarded an Investing in Professional Artists Grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments. Martin has also written a libretto for a video installation opera, titled “Good Stock on the Dimension Floor,” featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and collaborated with architect Mitch McEwen on Detroit Opera House, a conceptual architecture project. She is the recipient of a 2018 NEA grant for Creative Writing. With Ronaldo V. Wilson and Duriel E. Harris, she is also a co-founder of the Black Took Collective, an experimental performance art/poetry group of three.
Photo credit in order of appearance: Max Freeman, Max Freeman, Nicole Callahan, Stephanie K. Hopkins.