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Poem of the Month

Martha Collins is the author of several poetry collections, including the book-length poem Blue Front, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and chosen as one of “25 Books to Remember from 2006” by the New York Public Library. Her other awards include fellowships from the NEA, the Bunting Institute, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Witter Bynner Foundation. She is also the recipient of three Pushcart Prizes, the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, and a Lannan residency grant. Collins founded the Creative Writing Program at UMass-Boston and for ten years was Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College. She is currently editor-at-large for FIELD magazine and an editor for Oberlin College Press.


JULY 2014

From White Papers

by Martha Collins


[ 6 ]

They lived in the colored
section of town, as if the White
Pages map had been crayoned,
little squares, inside the lines,

as if they too had been covered
with color, something added to what
was given, i.e. ourselves who did
not know, not even our teachers,

that they were the given, that we
were the altered, that we (who still
were they, there was no difference
yet) lost our color, slowly erased

it as we moved north where a distant
sun could not get through, and on
we went, making roads and maps
of rivers and roads, assuming

we owned it if we could draw
it and color it in and give it
a name, and still we are drawing
lines and calling them borders

and coloring in and naming
people who shall not must
not cross, who live in the colored
sections of our white minds.


Copyright © 2012 by Martha Collins. All rights reserved.











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