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Shop  >>  Books  >>  Art

Martha Collins

Blue Front

Martha Collins Blue Front
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A stunning account of racism, mob violence, and cultural responsibility as rendered by the poet Martha Collins

the victim hanged, though not on a tree, this
was not the country, they used a steel arch
with electric lights, and later a lamppost, this
was a modern event, the trees were not involved.

--from ""Blue Front""

Martha Collins's father, as a five-year-old, sold fruit outside the Blue Front Restaurant in Cairo, Illinois, in 1909. What he witnessed there, with 10,000 participants, is shocking.

In Blue Front, Collins describes the brutal lynching of a black man and, as an afterthought, a white man, both of them left to the mercilessness of the spectators. The poems patch together an arresting array of evidence--newspaper articles, census data, legal history, postcards, photographs, and Collins's speculations
about her father's own experience. The resulting work, part lyric and part narrative, is a bold investigation into hate, mob mentality, culpability, and what it means to be white in a country still haunted by its violently racist history.

""I admire everything Martha Collins has written, and I feel she was born to write this book. I want to quietly thank her, and to quietly thank those to whose memory she dedicates this great work."" --Jean Valentine

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