The Falling Down Dance

Poetry by Chris Martin

November 3, 2015 • 6 x 9 • 96 Pages • 978-1-56689-422-7

A couple learns first how to be together, then how to anticipate a child, then how to raise him.

The poems in this book open a field of exploration around failure, love, despair, time, and fatherhood. It is a guide to surviving winter and learning to walk. It is a story about old houses filled with new song. Behold the first raspberry and the last clasping wet of the world as it parts to reveal mercy, a person.

About the Author

Chris Martin is the author of The Falling Down Dance (Coffee House, 2015), Becoming Weather (Coffee House, 2011), and American Music (Copper Canyon, 2007) chosen by C. D. Wright for the Hayden Carruth Award. He’s been a writer-in-residence at the Minnesota History Center’s Gale Library, a Bartos Fellow at United World College, and a reader-in-residence at the South Minneapolis Society Library, where he now helps edit the expandable publishing platform Society. In 2015 he co-founded Unrestricted Interest, a consultancy and writing program dedicated to transforming the lives of autistic writers. He also teaches at The Loft Literary Center and is a visiting assistant professor at Carleton College.


“To read The Falling Down Dance from cover to cover—and it’s best read that way—is also to see a dad start separate and strive for connection, catching the baby when he falls down, or feeling like a welcome but slightly distant addition to a maternal dyad. . . . Martin makes the clearest example for the new American poetry of fatherhood.” Boston Review

“Martin’s poems traverse expansive concepts while confined to the space of an apartment, where new parents in ‘the shipwreck / of fatherhood, of motherhood’ are cloistered during a brutal winter.” Star Tribune

“In this spare, poignant collection, Martin invites readers into the microcosm of new fatherhood against a wintry backdrop that produces isolation and intimacy in turn. . . . Martin encourages his readers to see parenthood in all its contradictions; the beautiful addition and the nexus of complication.” Publishers Weekly

“Martin’s attention is tender, even when it is dark. In the end, though, [The Falling Down Dance] is a book that closes in on domestic moments, moments of the physical body’s experiences, and these attentions manage to feel somehow profoundly political. For what is more political than the effort to create a space of love?” FIELD

The Falling Down Dance is a book of poetry so tenderly, playfully, and, often, still, sorrowfully in tune with the modern world. Ranging from Frank Ocean to fatherhood, from modern love to modern sadness, Martin’s poems tilt and turn down the page, full of dance and momentum. . . . The Falling Down Dance is a pulsing joy of a book. It feels so full, its slim lines bursting at the edges, trying to get out.” Full Stop