Rodger Martin’s latest volume of poetry, For All The Tea in Zhongguo, (Hobblebush Books: 2019) is a collection of poems in two languages. Both poems by Martin which have been translated and published in China and poets from China which Martin has edited for publication in English. His earlier book, The Battlefield Guide, (Hobblebush Books: 2010) follows the selection of The Blue Moon Series, (Hobblebush Books: 2007) by Small Press Review as one of its bi-monthly picks of the year. He is a New Hampshire State Council on the Arts in Education roster artist and also a touring artist for the New England States Touring Foundation administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts (Creative Ground: type in “Rodger Martin” under find an artist).
He is a seven-time recipient of a Bruce Kellner/Monadnock Fellowship to pursue his writing. He has also received an Appalachia award for poetry, a New Hampshire State Council on the Arts award for fiction, fellowships from The National Endowment for the Humanities to study T.S. Eliot and Thomas Hardy at Oxford University and John Milton at Duquesne University. His work has been published in literary journals and anthologies throughout the United States and China where he also wrote a series of essays on American poetry for The Yangtze River Journal. He and six colleagues, as part of The Monadnock Pastoral Poets, have been featured in a book On the Monadnock: New Pastoral Poetry (Beijing Drama Press: 2007). In 2012, he represented the United States as one of twelve poets participating in the City of Hangzhou’s literary festival on West Lake, China. In conjunction with the publication of Selection of New Chinese and American Pastoral Poets (Nanjing: 2015) he was invited to present a series of lectures about poets and poetry at both Shanghai University of International Business and Economics and Nanjing University.
In addition to his writing, he teaches journalism and creative writing at Keene State College, advises The Equinox, the college’s award-winning student news organization and has done artist-in-residency programs throughout New England. Martin often collaborates with other artists. Judges selected his collaboration with artist Victoria Arico as a finalist for the Portsmouth (N.H.) “Voice and Vision” project. Anthem Concatenus, a tribute to the submarine USS Albacore, now hangs in the Portsmouth Court House. Another of Martin’s collaborative work with musicians, The Battlefield Guide, has been performed throughout New England. He collaborated with the Nashua Symphony and Nashua High School writers as part of The Ripple Effect II, which premiered in 2008.
He was managing editor of The Worcester Review for almost three decades. For six years he directed New Hampshire’s Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Out Loud Project. Currently he serves as an editor for Hobblebush Books’ Granite State Poetry Series. 2013 marked the completion of a decade long project with Dr. B. Eugene McCarthy to adapt all twelve books of the epic poem Paradise Lost for dramatic reading. His critical work “The Colonization of Paradise: Milton’s Pandemonium and Montezuma’s Tenochtitlan” published in Comparative Literature Studies broke new ground in Milton studies.
In the spring of 2017, Martin was privileged to have his poem “Anchor” engraved in stone along with a plaque at the location of the anchor which inspired the poem at Shanghai University of International Business and Economics (SUIBE), Shanghai, China.
The reflecting pool at SUIBE, Shanghai, PRC
SUIBE Campus, Songjiang, Shanghai
This muscled, ocean-going anchor, an upright stack
like an arrow centered on heart, like an old barnacle back
weathered by Seven Seas, hands stuffed in pockets,
who lends his reddish heft and sculpture to this reflecting
pool shimmering in summer heat. What brings
a gnarled anchor to a university distant from docks
which exchanged cargo with the world?
What took him away from the lifeboat rusting by the lake?
Was it here that Odysseus planted his oar?
Anchor: weight of safe harbor, strong mooring.
Anchor: place of no leaving, weight for the dead.
Somewhere in a thicket, a bird chucks its wisdom loudly.
Let the echoes like this wizened relic rise, take flight,
twine into new fabric for a needle and its thread.
Martin was born in the amish country of Pennsylvania, lived in England as a child, and served as a combat engineer in Vietnam.
“Rodger Martin may well be Monadnock’s Renaissance man. Poet, soldier, professor, editor, journalist, publisher, mentor, administrator, facilitator, activist, world traveler, brother and friend to all in search of beauty. Rodger faithfully stands up for what is right, and sees, always, with his heart.” —poet John Hodgen