MARTHA RHODES is the author of five collections of poetry: At the Gate (1995), Perfect Disappearance (2000, Green Rose Prize), Mother Quiet (2004), The Beds (2012) and The Thin Wall (2017).Her poems have been published widely in such journals as Agni, Columbia, Fence, New England Review, Pleiades, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. She has also been anthologized widely, her work appearing in Agni 30 Years, Askold Melnyczuk editor, Appetite: Food as Metaphor, Phyllis Stowell and Jeanne Foster, eds. BOA Editions, Ltd. Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women, Susan Aizenberg and Erin Belieu, eds., Columbia University Press, 2001, New York. The New American Poets: A Bread Loaf Anthology, Michael Collier, ed,. University Press of New England, 2000, Hanover, NH. Last Call: Poems on Alcoholism, Addiction, and Deliverance, Sarah Gorham and Jeffrey Skinner, eds., Sarabande Books, 1997, Louisville. The KGB Bar Book of Poetry, David Lehman and Star Black, eds. Harper Collins, 2000, New York, among others.
Martha Rhodes has taught at Emerson College, New School University, and University of California at Irvine. She currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She has been a visiting or guest poet at many colleges and universities around the country and has taught at conferences such as the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, The Frost Place, Indiana University, Sarah Lawrence Summer Conference, and Third Coast. She serves on many publishing panels throughout each year at colleges, conferences and arts organizations, and is a regular guest editor at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and the Colrain Manuscript Conference. She also teaches private weekly workshops. In 2010, she took over the directorship of the Frost Place Conference on Poetry in Franconia, NH. Rhodes is the director of Four Way Books, publishers of poetry and short fiction, located in New York City.
Excerpt from “The Thin Wall” (c) 2017 by Martha Rhodes. University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.
Nothing is the thin wall of glass (as thin as skin)
just over there. I think if I look at that woman’s shoes,
coated in hardened mud—and if I calculate
the weight that this playground supports right now,
all the dirt, dogs, benches, swing sets, and if I count
from memory the freckles on my mother’s arms and face—
I might forget about the one who wakes me by screeching
into my brain that Nothing grabs us all, good or bad, boy,
girl popular, un-, you. I also think that my ability
to become misplaced, to take a few steps away and find myself
in someone’s poppy garden, or in the frozen aisle at the market,
or hovering at the ceiling of my sister’s bedroom in Thomaston
looking down at her asleep—lost, upside down, turned-around-unable-
to-navigate-lost—so far might have . . . I believe . . . kept me
from the thin glass wall just over there—I know exactly where it is.
An Audio of Martha Rhodes Reading One of Her Poems