National Poetry Month Spotlight: Amelia Martens

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2015! We’re celebrating all month long. Each day we will bring you a poem we love–a selection from one of our published or forthcoming collections. In turn, the featured poets will introduce poems they love. Happy April!
Today’s featured poet is Amelia Martens, who won the Fall, 2010 Black River Chapbook Competition for
Purgatory by Amelia Martens

The universe grows smaller every day. The grocery store on the corner moves like an ice sheet, eating up the sidewalk. The nine has already been lost on your chalk box of hopscotch, and the walk you take in the evening, up to the post office, takes less and less time. Soon there will be no darkness left, as streetlights pile up at the end of the block. They crowd together like cattle, pushing their necks over the backs of once distant enemies. Your house is condensing also, rooms folding in against each other, as if you lived again in that tent trailer. The one your dad made so long ago, soldering the frame in the garage after he came home from the job he couldn’t talk about. Your mother sewed canvas together, and sleeping quarters formed across her lap, as you sat staring at the TV, trying to make out black and white figures, shooting each other in the streets of cities you couldn’t pronounce, cities too far away to contemplate.

Amelia has chosen to introduce “On Forgetting” by Megan Snyder-Camp.
She says: “On Forgetting” is a poem that I come back to after a long day of watching the tide come in as my two young children wash over me and clash with each other. This poem helps me remember to value all the language my girls are delivering, all the ways they renew language for me as they roll it over in their minds and mouths. It also reminds me that the language of children, children’s books, and of parents speaking to children are all valuable resources that I can mine. 
2Amelia Martens received an MFA in Creative Writing and an MS in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education from Indiana University. Her debut poetry collection, The Spoons in the Grass Are There To Dig a Moat, was selected by Sarabande Books for the 2014 Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature and will be published in 2016. She is an adjunct instructor for West Kentucky Community & Technical College, where she is also the Associate Literary Editor for WKCTC’s Exit 7: A Journal of Literature and Art. She is the author of three chapbooks:  Purgatory (winner of the Black River Chapbook competition, Black Lawrence Press, 2012), Clatter (Floating Wolf Quarterly, 2013), and A Series of Faults (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in such journals as Bellingham Review, Cold Mountain Review, Crab Creek Review, Folio, The Chattahoochee Review, The Iron Horse Literary Review, Whiskey Island, and Willow Springs. She is married to the poet Britton Shurley; they have two smart/beautiful/brave daughters and a ridiculous dog. Please visit Amelia at