Charles Martin

b. 1942
Poet, critic, and translator Charles Martin was born in New York City in 1942. He earned a BA from Fordham University and a PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Known for his erudition, wit, and dexterity with form and meter, Martin’s poetry tackles contemporary themes with classical grace, and his oeuvre ranges from translations to parodies and imitations in the styles of Franz Kafka, Theodore Roethke, Matthew Arnold, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Three of his collections have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, including Steal the Bacon (1987), What the Darkness Proposes (1996), and Starting from Sleep: New and Selected Poems (2002), which was also a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Award. His book Signs & Wonders (2011) received praise for its humor as well as careful handling of topics like September 11 and the political outrage surrounding the presidency of George W. Bush. The recipient of numerous awards, including multiple Pushcart Prizes, Martin has received the Bess Hokin Award, the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Merrill Ingram Foundation. He is also a noted translator of Latin poetry, and his translations of Ovid and Catullus have been well received. His translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (2004) won the Harold Morton Landon Award from the Academy of American Poets.
 
Poet in residence at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City from 2005–2009, Charles Martin has been a professor at Queensborough Community College, Syracuse University, in the Stonecoast low-residency MFA at the University of Southern Maine, and at the School of Letters of the University of the South. He has also taught workshops at the Sewanee Writers Conference and the West Chester Poetry Conference.
 
According to Richard Moore in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Martin “is known among his fellow poets …as a writer of wit, lyrical delicacy, and compelling form, who has developed an artistic language with which he can deal with fundamental questions in American life.”


Career

Educator. Notre Dame College of Staten Island, teacher of English, 1968-70; Queensborough College, instructor, then associate professor of English, 1970—. Teacher in the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, Baltimore, MD, 1987-94.

Bibliography

POETRY
  • Room for Error, University of Georgia Press (Athens), 1978.
  • Fulvio Testa: Watercolors, March 6-31, 1990, Claude Bernard Gallery (New York, NY), 1990.
  • Passages from Friday, Abattoir (Omaha, NE), 1983.
  • Steal the Bacon, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1987.What the Darkness Proposes, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1996.
  • Ferryboat, City University of New York (New York, NY), 2000.
  • Starting from Sleep: New and Selected Poems, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 2002.
  • Signs & Wonders, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2011.
 
OTHER
  • (Translator) The Poems of Catullus, Abattoir, 1979, revised edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.
  • Catullus: A Critical Study, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1992.
  • (Translator) Ovid, Metamorphoses, Norton (New York, NY), 2004.
 
Contributor to periodicals, including Parnassus and Poetry.

Further Reading

BOOKS
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 120: American Poets since World War II, Third Series, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
  • Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English, Oxford University Press, 1994.

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LIFE SPAN 1942–

Biography

Poet, critic, and translator Charles Martin was born in New York City in 1942. He earned a BA from Fordham University and a PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Known for his erudition, wit, and dexterity with form and meter, Martin’s poetry tackles contemporary themes with classical grace, and his oeuvre ranges from translations to parodies and imitations in the styles of Franz Kafka, Theodore Roethke, Matthew . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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