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.
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.