poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

J. Michael Martinez was born and raised in Greeley, Colorado. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado and received an MFA from George Mason University.

His poems have appeared in New American Writing, Five Fingers Review, The Colorado Review, and Crab Orchard Review, among others, and the anthology Junta: Avant-Garde Latino/a Writing. He is the recipient of the 2006 Five Fingers Review Poetry Prize and is coeditor and cofounder of Breach Press.

In 2009, Martinez's collection Heredities was selected by Juan Felipe Herrera for the Academy of American Poets' Walt Whitman Award and was published by Louisiana State University Press. His second book, In the Garden of the Bridehouse, was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2014. His third collection, Museum of the Americas (Penguin Books, 2018), was selected by Cornelius Eady for the 2017 National Poetry Series and was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry.

About his debut, Herrera wrote: "Heredities breaks away from four decades of inquiry into cultural identity. Martinez's exhilarating descent into the unspoken—lit by metaphysical investigations, physiological charts, and meta-translations of Hernán Cortés's accounts of his conquests—gives voice to a dismembered continental body buried long ago. This body, though flayed and fractured, rises and sings."

Martinez is currently pursuing a PhD in literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is the poetry editor for Noemi Press, and lives in Denver, Colorado.


Bibliography

Museum of the Americas (Penguin Books, 2018)
In the Garden of the Bridehouse (University of Arizona Press, 2014)
Heredities (Louisiana State University Press, 2010)

[Executive Order]

The     crisis     crown.     black     thorns     piercing.     for     of
inviolate     flesh    a     replica     of     flesh.     dioramas     of     bodies.
lashed     &     stretched.     trunk       opened     for     reverence.     in
the      thickening.     death      of      the     compound.     noun      we
are.     bones     bleached     to     bear.     wings     of     dried     lungs.
paling       the     sovereign.      for     the     world     speech     defies.

From Museum of the Americas (Penguin Books, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by J. Michael Martinez. Used with the permission of the author.

From Museum of the Americas (Penguin Books, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by J. Michael Martinez. Used with the permission of the author.

J. Michael Martinez

J. Michael Martinez

J. Michael Martinez's collection Heredities was selected by Juan Felipe Herrera for the Academy of American Poets' Walt Whitman Award and was published by Louisiana State University Press.

by this poet

poem

as light
               shaped by trajectory.

a wind settles in the body.
Echécatl the breath, the flint & spark.
the house of prayers.

I am

when sounds exchange questions
when light enters the lung
when given

the noun:                a

2
poem

X.X.,


Someday, across glacier, a green horse will ride toward you; despite steam rising from heavy breath, you'll touch its snout.

When you paired a person's gait to signature, what lilt signed your step? What tautology, what tense was this body's hypothesis?

Do you remember your mother's

poem

               as the meat
               within the shell

as the shell before the caw

a bleached weed
               a fig
dusted to sweet the skin

egg albumen of peacock
               butterfly

held to the ivory of oxen hoof
               

2