* 2015 CSU Poetry Center First Book Competition, Editor’s Choice *
Martin Rock is the author of Dear Mark (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013), a chapbook response to the work of Mark Rothko. With Kevin Prufer and Martha Collins he edited the Unsung Masters volume Catherine Breese Davis: On the Life and Work of an American Master (Pleiades Press, 2015). His poetry and translations from the Japanese have appeared in Asymptote, AGNI, Black Warrior Review, Conduit, Diagram, Forklift, Ohio, Best New Poets 2012, and other journals. Martin has held senior editorial positions at Gulf Coast, Washington Square Review, and Epiphany, a literary journal, and he is Founding Editor of Loaded Bicycle, an online journal of poetry, art, and translation. As Poet-in-Residence at Texas Children’s Hospital, he helps young patients express themselves through the written word. A recipient of fellowships from New York University, University of Houston, InPrint, and the Port-Townsend Writers’ Conference, he is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Houston.
“Martin Rock’s Residuum spins language into twinned helices of what is said and what is taken back, layering micro- and macroscopic images of bodies in love and space and history. It might make you a little dizzy. It might be contagious or reproducing. It might ask you to glimpse at the moments when you try to speak truly and find your words coming out all infected and in debt. It is a love poem as Williams’ Asphodel is a love poem. It is spectacular and leaves me with a head encircled by stars.” —Heather Christle
“In Residuum, Martin Rock creates the illusion of an enormous mind always in motion. ‘Meditating on the peak of a mountain last year / years ago // I held all the universe inside my skull,’ it informs us, suggesting both the intimacy and vastness of its vision. At times, these poems appear to live beyond the range of any individual, as if Emerson’s Oversoul spoke directly to, and through, us—though just as quickly they become intimate and humane, whispering softly into our ears. Always, Rock’s observations, subtractions, and revisions fascinate, disrupting any clean, centered view of the world, replacing it with brilliant abstraction.” —Kevin Prufer
“Martin Rock’s remarkable debut collection, Residuum, takes on nothing less than making the unsayable (as Heidegger perceives it) ‘legible.’ I find the partial erasure form of this book dynamic, and lyrically fluid. Residuum is also moving, and genuinely funny in many spots. For all its critical engagement and thoughtfulness, it never loses the necessary, bodily pulse. Rock’s is a wonderful new voice to encounter, a poet who takes from several different canons within our poetic tradition and makes something utterly his own from them.” —Erin Belieu
“In our culture where composition largely resides between blinking cursors and revision is often an act of deletion, Martin Rock’s impressive debut collection, Residuum, announces itself like a command to ‘Save.’ Language is not just the words that we use but everything that has been reconsidered, replaced, evolved, or ignored to get us here. Sometimes, that language comes via the intense privileges of gender, race, or class. Other times it can be a more earned catalogue of allusion and emotions. These lyrics compositions of image and additive subtraction are earned and owe as much to Robert Rauschenberg as they do Martin Heidegger. And because of that, Rock’s collection is a visual and allusory opportunity for the reader: the word bank is open, the questions are asked, and the answers are here in poems that are both unexpected and fascinating.” —Adrian Matejka