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Race/Race

By Martha Collins

stock     strain     family     line


breed     blood     skin     shape


of the head     of the pack


animal     human     judge



better     fitter     swiftly


to find     foot     horse     car     run


for your life     around


town     the block     the camp


 

to the top     the finish     contend


compete     in     for     against


the other     the not so


great     not even in the

Added: Thursday, November 5, 2015  /  This poem was first published in "Prairie Schooner," and will also be in Collins's forthcoming "Admit One: An American Scrapbook" from Pitt Poetry Series in 2016. Used with permission.
Martha Collins

Martha Collins's eighth book of poetry, Admit One: An American Scrapbook (Pittsburgh, 2016), follows White Papers (2012) and the book-length poem Blue Front (2006) in combining careful research with innovative poetic techniques to explore disturbing aspects of America’s history, including race and racism. Described by the AWP Chronicle as “a dazzling poet whose poetry is poised at the juncture between the lyric and ethics,” Collins has also published four collections of co-translated Vietnamese poetry and (among other books of poetry) Day Unto Day, a 2014 collection of “calendar” poems. Her awards include fellowships from the NEA, the Bunting Institute, and the Siena Art Institute, as well as three Pushcart Prizes, a 2013 Best American Poetry award, and an Anisfield-Wolf Award. Founder of the creative writing program at UMass-Boston, she served as Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College for ten years and as Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University in 2010. She is currently editor-at-large for FIELD magazine and one of the editors of the Oberlin College Press. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Learn more at Martha Collins’s website.

Other poems by this author