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Inscribing My Name

Selected Poems: New, Used, and Repossessed

Discover Black History, Poetry

Foreword by W. D. Snodgrass


Selected poems from a respected African American poet

Visit our Events page for details about the Kent screening of the new film Jump Back, Honey: The Poetry and Performance of Herbert Woodward Martin.

Herbert Woodward Martin’s body of poetry from the past five decades is, in many ways, matched by no one else. His many poetic voices range from quiet lyrics to angry protest poems, from groundbreaking counterpoint structures to prize-winning historical narratives. His wide-ranging poetry acts as a barometer of various times and tempers in American literature. His poetry is innovative and balanced and has a special way of working within traditions even as it creates its own unique space.

Martin’s poetry captures life in the Midwest through the authenticity of his voice, his dramatic sense, and the wonderful innovation of his multidisciplinary talents (poet, scholar, teacher, librettist, and performer). From his first volume of poetry in 1969 to Inscribing My Name, Martin’s work brings alive important issues and struggles in our understanding of what it means to be human. This accomplished body of work is a unique combination of traditional poetic forms, the African American musical tradition, and Martin’s extensive experience creating and performing theater and opera.


Herbert Woodward Martin is poet-in-residence at the University of Dayton in Ohio. He has written Escape to the Promised Land (2005), A Matter of Honor (2000), and Paul Laurence Dunbar: A Singer of Songs (1980).