“Max Turns Yellow”
Spuyten Duyvil, 2020, finds Max (the protagonist of Max Sees Red) in Brooklyn. He has moved to an old pickle factory in Vinegar Hill, abutting the not yet gentrified Dumbo, and has fallen in love with the enchanting but mysterious Britz, older sister of his young friend Theo. She is brutally killed which sends Max on an epic search through 1980s New York, encountering art world hangers on, society stalwarts, ambitious cancer researchers, mafia family men, Roma financiers, and witch-craft adepts.
“Max Sees Red”
Max Sees Red — Spuyten Duvyil, April, 2019, follows the adventures of a semi-successful painter in New York’s SoHo in the late 1970s. Max is drawn into a quest to unravel the arson-murder of Shirley, a literary editor, in order to extricate Robert Rosen, one of his oldest friends, a novelist whose hysteria has made him a prime suspect. The book swivels between SoHo bars, lofts, and galleries, and impoverished small towns and abandoned farms in Dutchess and Hudson counties. The city’s artists are just beginning to settle there, clashing with the rural poor, elite establishment landowners, and a shadow neo-Nazi subculture.
BlazeVOX, 2018. "A lively, always insightful memoir providing an intimate account of not only the artists and writers constellated around Black Mountain College in the 1950s but the evolution of many of its figures—famous ones like Charles Olson and John Wieners as well as those less so—while the scenery changes from San Francisco to the East Village, from the ragged clapboards at Black Mountain to the Park Avenue apartments of art dealers. Against the backdrop of her proper Southern upbringing King charts her sentimental education, one done in the company of her husband Basil King, with both eye and ear attuned to the urgent disputes and minor key joys that animate the ordinary days of poets and painters."
“North & South”
"King attended the fabled Black Mountain College in the mid-1950s: her short stories suggest the spare hardness and amused diffidence of Black Mountain poet Robert Creeley; wrenching plot twists and the instability of narrative itself--King often interrupts to discard or evaluate the proceedings--root her best work in the postmodern contingency forged by Black Mountain teachers. In "Conversation in Connecticut," the entire arc of a failed novelist's life gets condensed into a single revelation. "Dog Box" moves its focus violently inward from a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood to a box on an art dealer's mantle. The collection's second half has one foot in the courtly landscape of the Old South (where King grew up), the other itching to escape to an "arts underworld." The narrators, often unnamed and female, reveal King's keen sensitivity to the caste system separating men and women...These stories form the pinned edges of a very broad canvas"
“Imperfect Fit: Selected Poems”
Marsh Hawk Press, 2003. Poetry. History as content has a sharper feel to more Americans post 9/11. Martha King's work shivers with awareness of mortality and the echoes of history's violence. Wars—even those removed in time by generations—dislocate the present in many of these poems. In others, war is the long loving/hating war of parents and children, or the imperfect fit between human activity and what is called the natural world. These poems, written over the past 20 years, celebrate the ability of humor to squelch sentimental responses and the requirement of wit for free-range chickens. As the late Paul Metcalf commented, "Martha sure can be funny about death." Robert Creeley said, "Imperfect Fit fits perfectly. Terrific!"
“Little Tales of Family and War”
Spuyten Duyvil, 2000. "How well she writes about class, social and political eras. I am reminded of Dawn Powell and Edith Wharton situations so specifically and brilliantly drawn they must be true. We know Babs and Mr. Rich, Tom and the weeping French school-mistress. So interwoven are their contradictions and questions this book seems infinitely longer than it is."
“17 Walking Sticks”
Stop Press (UK) 1997. Rare and out of print, but a treasure: Seventeen drawings of sticks in a jar by Basil King, accompanied by 17 poems for each one by Martha King. 66 pages. Black and white illustrations.
To Purchase Martha King books, click on cover images ➜
Online and periodical publications
"Seventy Years ago in the South" (prose, text)
"True Stories from Lynchburg" (prose, text)
Critique on Paul Blackburn (text from 2000)