Martina Reisz Newberry

Martina’s most recent book is LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions).  She is also the author of WHAT WE CAN’T FORGIVE.  LATE NIGHT RADIO, PERHAPS YOU COULD BREATHE FOR ME. HUNGER, AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE:  POEMS 1996-2006, NOT UNTRUE & NOT UNKIND (Arabesques Press) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press) 


Ms. Newberry is the winner of i.e. magazine’s Editor’s Choice Poetry Chapbook Prize for 1998: AN APPARENT, APPROACHABLE LIGHT. 


She is also the author of  LIMA BEANS AND CITY CHICKEN: MEMORIES OF THE OPEN HEARTH—a memoir of her father, (one of the first men ever to be hired at Kaiser Steel in Fontana, CA in 1943)—published by E.P. Dutton and Co. in 1989. 


Newberry has been included in Ascent Aspirations first two hard-copy Anthologies, also in the anthologies In The Company Of Women and Blessed Are These Hands.  She has been widely published in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad.


She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and at Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts. Poet Andrew Hudgins nominated her for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry in 1989.


A passionate lover of Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband Brian and their fur baby, Charlie T. Cat. 


Does God want us to behave like bats?
We use our wings only to get out
of the dark—we seek God in it. 
We sweat out the endless day, remain
silent as death, ask no questions, seek
nothing, But in Night’s darkest black, we
batter our wings and scream “why?” and nourish
ourselves with the blood of lesser creatures. 
The air moves constantly under us
as if earth did not exist.  We know
it’s there of course, but we ignore it. 
Its firmness is unnecessary.
We are looking for God—flying and
screaming to each other, bouncing our
voices off trees and rooftops and drainpipes. 
“Where?” we shriek.  “Have you found Him?”     “Is there
hope?”  God shakes his fist at us.  “Go home!”
He rages at us, “Day is coming!”
“Go home to bed!  Begin again tomorrow.”


The hugeness in this silence is a net;
it hauls me in; a dream after too much drinking. 
Everything here moves, swells, is excited,
quelled and dropped, to be picked up again
and far flung around rock points.  Like a
convalescing tubercular, cautious
with my steps, with where I sit, what I eat,
how I move.  There is hope for a wind
redemption, but it is long in coming
as are all healings.  These white-wrapped seditious
visions are impatient, need an instrument
as I need instincts—mine are worn.  I make
a fist, try to force a way into my
own stillness.  Breaking and entering, stealing
what I will not give.  Two with me here:
two aunts; one alive, to do me an
unkindness, one dead, touching my face while
I sleep.  We had not seen each other for weeks,
then she died I was abased by that then
and am now. This is not about the death
of an aunt, after all.  It is about
the ocean and the quiet river and
wood smoke filtering through the valley at Big Sur.

2013 Martina Reisz Newberry
Martina Reisz Newberry was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the August 2013 Second Sunday Poetry Series