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Dawn Lundy Martin

Director, Center for African American Poetry and Poetics
CL 628-F

Dawn Lundy Martin received her PhD in literature at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst with a dissertation on experimentalism and subjectivity in contemporary poetry. She is the author of A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering (2007), winner of the Cave Canem Prize; DISCIPLINE (2011), which was selected by Fanny Howe for the Nightboat Books Poetry Prize and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and several chapbooks. Her latest collection, Life in a Box is a Pretty Life, (2015) won the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry. Good Stock, Strange Blood is forthcoming from Coffee House Press in 2017.

In 2016, Martin co-founded with poet Terrance Hayes, the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP) at the University of Pittsburgh. A creative think tank for African American and African diasporic poetry and poetics, CAAPP brings together a diversity of poets, writers, scholars, artists, and community members who are thinking through black poetics as a field that investigates the contemporary moment as it is impacted by historical artistic and social repressions and their respondent social justice movements.

With Vivien Labaton, Martin also co-edited The Fire This Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism (Anchor Books, 2004), which uses a gender lens to describe and theorize young activist work in the U.S. She is the co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation (New York), an organization, which was for 15 years the only young activist feminist foundation in the U.S. Martin continues her work in collaboration with foundations and activist organizations to research and strategize about protecting the lives and freedoms of women and girls. Using an intersectional lens that bring together feminism with racial justice and LGBT rights, Martin works to provide innovative analytical frameworks, which assist philanthropic organizations in strategic philanthropy to level the playing field and animate social justice reforms.

Martin’s current creative-scholarly work operates in the intersecting fields of experimental poetics, video installation, and performance. Letters to the Future: BLACK WOMEN / Radical WRITING, co-editing with Erica Hunt is forthcoming in 2017 from Kore Press. Her video installation work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and Good Stock on the Dimension Floor, a 52-minute video opera, for which she wrote the libretto, premiered at the Whitney Biennial in 2014. She has been a member of HowDoYouSayYamInAfrican, a global artist collective, and is a part of the Black Took Collective a multimedia performance group of three.

Photo courtesy of Max Freeman. 


Teaching and Writing

"I ask my students to be reflective writers and thinkers, writers who not only produce finished texts, but who are also aware of the ways in which that production occurs. In addition to writing rich primary works, including essays, poems, plays, and short stories, students in my classes reflect on their writing process through meta-cognitive assignments. Students learn how to stand back from their work and understand themselves as learners. This helps them discover their own strengths and weaknesses while formulating a lexicon to talk about what it is that they do, so that they might move toward self-reliance and take responsibility for their own relationship to ideas and language."

Revised 05/30/2020
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