Why knowing is a quality out of fashion and no one can decide to but slips into it or ends up with a painting one has never seen that quality of light before even before having seen it in between pages of another book and not remembering who knows or recognizing the questionable quality of light on her face as
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1940, Martha Ronk attended Wellesley College and earned a PhD from Yale University.
She is the author of several collections of poetry, including: Vertigo (Coffee House Press, 2007), which was selected by C.D. Wright as a part of the National Poetry Series; In a Landscape of Having to Repeat (Omnidawn, 2004); Why/Why Not (University of California Press, 2003); Recent Terrains (Johns Hopkins Press, 2000); Eyetrouble (University of Georgia Press, 1998); Desert Geometries (Littoral Books, 1992); and Desire in LA (University of Georgia Press, 1990). She is also the author of two chapbooks.
In addition to poetry, she has written a collection of short stories, Glass Grapes: And Other Stories (BOA Editions, 2008); and two memoirs, Displeasures of the Table (Green Integer, 2001) and State of Mind (Sun & Moon Books, 1995).
About Ronk's work, the poet Norma Cole says, "Ronk, in her 'looking for/the conjunction of the past and the present,' produces a poetry that questions the context of living, its arrangements, its decisions. Her sure-footed investigation is equaled by its prosody of progression/recursion in a particular lexicon of grace and elegance."
Ronk is the recipient of the 2005 PEN USA award in poetry, a MacArthur summer Research Grant, the Gertrude Stein Award, and an NEA grant.
She has taught at Colorado University, Otis College of Art and Design and the Naropa University Summer Writing Program. She is currently living in Los Angeles and is a professor of English at Occidental College.