Black Lawrence Press
April 4, 2014

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Amelia Martens

Here at Black Lawrence Press we are celebrating National Poetry Month with a poem a day, featuring a total of 30 authors from our list. Today’s featured poet is Amelia Martens, author of Purgatory.

from Purgatory

This morning your house exploded and in a separate incident a
coop caught fire—ten thousand chickens burned to death, but no
people were injured. Layers and layers of feathers turned lighter
than smoke and escaped the farm to become the sunset: that
red around the edges of the field. Chicken wire sculptures now
decorate the yard, their feathers made of twisted bits of insulation.
The corrugated roof collapsed and all the walls drew back. Beams
and drywall made an unhappy black backdrop to the ground.
Your name is typed onto a bracelet and penciled on a list at the
funeral home that everyone in town seems to like. Men kick dirt
and ash over smoldering bones, just large enough to get caught
in someone’s throat. A dog will begin to dig after dark. You are
breathing by machine, while the beaks of ten thousand chickens
flip through magazines, waiting for any news of you, out there in
the bright white room.

Amelia_Martens_2Amelia Martens received an MFA from Indiana University and works as an adjunct instructor at West Kentucky Community & Technical College. She was awarded an Emerging Artist Grant from the Kentucky Arts Council in 2010, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Recently, her poems have appeared in Bellingham Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Whiskey Island, and Willow Springs. Her first poetry chapbook, Purgatory, won the Spring 2010 Black River Chapbook competition and was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2012. Floating Wolf Quarterly published her next chapbook, Clatter, online in 2013. Her third poetry chapbook, A Series of Faults, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2014. She is married to the poet Britton Shurley; their collaborative projects include two daughters.