White Papers

"White Papers is a praise song for the truth. It bravely pulls back the covers of whiteness to offer us precious views of racial privilege. Martha Collins has laid bare the more complex dangers of America's central trauma in a book of innovative craft and startling honesty. The rhythmic tapestry of this remarkable work helps open the door to a healing that is long overdue. Let this praise song be praised."
Afaa Michael Weaver
Winner of the 2013 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry

White Papers is a series of untitled poems that deal with issues of race from a number of personal, historical, and cultural perspectives. Expanding the territory of her 2006 book Blue Front, which focused on a lynching her father witnessed as a child, this book turns, among other things, to Martha Collins' childhood. Throughout, it explores questions about what it means to be white, not only in the poetÆs life, but also in our culture and history, even our pre-history. The styles and forms are varied, as are the approaches; some of the poems address race only implicitly, and the book, like Blue Front, includes some documentary and “found” material. But the focus is always on getting at what it has meant and what it means to be white—to have a race and racial history, much of which one would prefer to forget, if one is white, but all of which is essential to remember and to acknowledge in a multi-racial society that continues to live under the influence of its deeply racist past.

80 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

January, 2012

isbn : 9780822961840

about the author

Martha Collins

Martha Collins is the author of nine previous books of poetry, including Admit One: An American Scrapbook, White Papers, and the book-length poem Blue Front, as well as the paired volumes Night Unto Night and Day Unto Day. Collins has also published four volumes of co-translated Vietnamese poetry, and co-edited Into English: Poems, Translations, Commentaries. Founder of the Creative Writing Program at U.Mass-Boston and Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College for ten years, she currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Martha Collins