Poetry by Chris Martin
March 15, 2011 • 6 x 8.9 • 138 pages • 978-1-56689-259-9
Blending Frank O’Hara’s keen eye and Jeff Tweedy’s heartache, this collection celebrates urban America, in its bustling, maddening glory.
By cataloging the movements and moments of a constantly shifting city, Martin’s poems posit a metropolis that is always already dancing and where no one dances alone. Part philosophy and part song, this dynamic collection moves us to “never / stop moving . . . to always go / sincere in the blur.” An intimate, atmospheric distillation of how “one wakes only / to this false peace / with the voice / of a weatherman,” Becoming Weather confronts the comforts and hierarchies that make us complacent.
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.
“The best collection of poetry I’ve read this year to date is Becoming Weather by Chris Martin. It’s confident, bold, excavating and it all feels natural.” —Bran Foley, HTML Giant
“Becoming Weather isn’t poetry as post-structuralist paraphrase, it’s a book about being-in-the-middle: of courtship, a New York commute, global crisis, phenomena and the moments of attention they attract. . . . Martin is ingenious at producing solution after solution for making the line a place of becoming rather than the static origin or fate of assertion.”—Geoffrey G. O’Brien in Lana Turner
“[Chris Martin] feels his way toward a sense of existence that embraces but is not confined to the intellect. The honesty and rigor of this pilgrimage leads Martin to an almost euphoric state: ‘I try / so hard to exact / things and am so densely / removed / from them, but every once / in a while I see fit / to absorb a weightless / answer, an answer without / volume, because / light is there!’ This is a surprising and insightful book.” —Bob Hicok
“Punctured as he is, Martin never loses the whole for the part: ‘Let’s say I found // my whole body’s thought,’ he says, as he deftly stitches his bright song through the gaps.” —Eleni Sikelanos
“Chris Martin’s airy, confident poems interview clouds and eye details in the forms other bodies hold, the spaces between them and perils therein. He is working with deftness in that rich terrain where a totalizing instability is met by the musical surety necessary to begin breaking it down.” —Anselm Berrigan
“Becoming Weather is significant in that it addresses the dual registers of human experience, the instant and the infinite, by poems which both contain and enact this duality. . . . Martin’s vocation is to voice the inspired moments of his existence, to sing the correspondence between instance and infinity, between spots of time and high virtues, between epiphanies close at hand and the void beyond what is not at hand.” —Sugar House Review
“[Becoming Weather] concludes with the section ‘Coda,’ which consists of one poem, ‘Being Of,’ where the author finally determines the ‘answer’ so that ‘soon / enough we can return to / our entanglements.’ Whether the entanglements of our lives are less than the entanglements and philosophical musings of the collection is hard to say; Becoming Weather sweeps up the reader into the tumultuous, mind versus body, world of the speaker.” —NewPages
“Chris Martin’s latest, Becoming Weather, gives voice to his own attempt at maintaining his balance in the multiplicity of chaos, an uncommon talent increasingly practical in our culture’s discombobulated post-9/11 era, where every point of view his evidence to prove it, regardless of veracity. . . . Put simply, he speaks from the edge in a voice you understand.” —Denver Examiner
“The precision of Martin’s guidance—its wise thrill, if you like . . . is in fact careful curation from an active imagination in which syntax stays a half step ahead of sense . . . ensuring that play comes before postulation even when Martin maps out difficult meanings.” —Kenyon Review
“Chris Martin’s second book of poems, Becoming Weather, solidifies his reputation as one of our most sociable poets. Encountering Martin’s buoyant, casually cerebral work feels a bit like entering a party he is hosting. . . . like Frank O’Hara, the magnanimous sense of self in Martin’s poems is richest when refracted through encounters with friends, lovers, and random passersby.” —Boston Review