Richard Martin lives in Boston and works from a self-imposed turret in his home. He has a lovely wife, three children, two cats and a dog. Many years ago, before online applications, he received a NEA Fellowship for Poetry. He supports an extravagant lifestyle thanks to royalties from his poetry books and his first bestselling collection of short fiction, Altercations in the Quiet Car(Lavender Ink/Fell Swoop, 2010).
He is the author of five previous books of poems, Dream of Long Headdresses: Poems from a Thousand Hospitals, White Man Appears on Southern California Beach, Modulations, Marks and Under the Sky of No Complaint. He is also the author of the classic anti-memoir, boink!(Lavender Ink, 2005), and, most recently, Techniques in the Neighborhood of Sleep (Spuyten Duyvil, 2016). His work has appeared in a variety of literary magazines, including Fell Swoop: The All Bohemian Revue, Exquisite Corpse, unarmed, House Organ, Big Bridge, The American Drivel Review, BURP, Gargoyle and ACM. In 1983, he founded The Big Horror Poetry Series (1983-1996) in Binghamton, NY, coordinating it for 13 years with the Binghamton Community Poets.
I’ve always been a fan of Spicer’s understanding that poems arrive via an open window, through radio transmissions, and/or delivered to consciousness by Martians. For as long as I can remember, wind, tunes, and little green men have rattled my mind with a phrase or image, and I have used pen or pencil to hitch a ride on each transmission from those sources. This predilection of recording poetic transmissions – being a dutiful secretary – has been and continues to be fun and enlightening and has kept me on the street of American poetry. Transmissions are wayward and free and a bit phobic of workshops and programs.
In more practical terms, I started out writing about washing bedpans and various medical utensils in hospitals in the late sixties and moved on from there. In 1982, I won the NEA lottery for poetry for 12 hospital poems and used the money to fund a wild ride down the California coastline with friends and strangers. Thanks to being radiated by the CA sun, I wrote my second book of poems, White Man Appears on Southern California Beach, in a state of delirium. Back east, I became a single father with two children and founded The Big Horror Poetry Series in Binghamton, New York. Thanks to the Binghamton Community Poets, the series ran for sixteen years and video tapes of the series are housed at the Binghamton University Library. The series was inclusive – a place where poets and writers from the community, from various schools of poetry, and universities enjoyed each other’s company – sort of. Jerome Rothenberg said our home at Swat Sullivan’s (thanks, Tommy C, Bern, Tommy H., Phil, Tommy the K; John, Michael, and Alexis) reminded him of Hugo Ball’s Cabaret Voltaire. The series also sparked my connection with Peter Kidd, publisher of Igneus Press, and the poets Walter Butts, William Kemmett, and James deCrescentis after I had moved to Boston.
Since then, I have written three more books of poetry, an anti-memoir, and a collection of short stories. My latest is Under the Sky of No Complaint, a collaborative effort from Lavender Ink and Fell Swoop. Fell Swoopis my home literary magazine. Thanks to XJ (Joel) Dailey, poems and stories of mine have appeared in many issues since its inception. In addition, Fell Swoop has published single issues of my work under the pseudonyms Duck Martian, Ant McGoogle, and Diktater. I’ve also remarried, became a father again at 50, and no longer know how old I am.
Techniques in the Neighborhood of Sleep (Spuyten Duyvil, 2016)