Little Tales of Family & War
ISBN 1-881471-47-0 $12.00 104 pages
cover art by Basil King
How well she writes about class, social and political eras. I am reminded of Dawn Powell and Edith Wharton. There are characters and scenes, 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.
King is a minimalist with a difference. Where much minimalist prose is dry and detached, King’s is richly detailed.
American Book Review
These are more than domestic tales, they give a spinning feel to the cultural assumptions that are opened like a papaya to reveal a possibly menacing clutch of squishy black seeds.
Stacey's The Reading Form
Each incident-no matter how apparently exaggerated or seemingly trivial-has the unbounded fullness of life as it is lived, not as it is more generally represented in narrative as a patterned sequence leading toward a satisfying conclusion.
Martha King examines what goes on between people before and behind closed doors. The true motivations hiding behind what people think they want to believe about themselves. It can be brutal; it can be funny; it is just what it is. In terms both literary and direct, Martha sings that which we can recognize in ourselves, our families, our working lives, our friends; best of all, our enemies.
Martha King’s most recent book, Seventeen Walking Sticks (Stop Press, 1997) is a cycle of poems in response to drawings by Basil King. Her other books of poetry are Weather (New Rivers Press), Women and Children First (2+2 Press), Islamic Miniature (Lee/Lucas Press) and Monday Through Friday (Zelot Press). Her poems have appeared in small press magazines including IO, Chelsea, Mulch, Ikon, Contact II, New American Writing, Synaesthetic, Optimism (Czech Republic) and Radical Poetics (U.K.). Her prose/fiction and essays have appeared in Hanging Loose, North Carolina Literary Review, House Organ, Bomb, St. Mark’s Poetry Project Newsletter, and First Intensity, among others. Selected works are in the following anthologies: A Decade and Then Some/Intrepid Anthology, Allen Deloach, editor (Intrepid Press); Woman and Nature, Susan Griffin, editor (Harper & Row); Sparks of Fire: Blake in a New Age, James Bogan and Fred Gross, editors (North Atlantic Books); Pegansen fran Prarien, Peter Trachtenberg, editor (Hammarstrom & Aberg); Chain, Jena Osman and Juliana Spahr, editors (University of Buffalo); The Taking of Hands, C. W. Truesdale, editor (New Rivers Press). Mrs. King was the editor of the poetry zine Giants Play Well in the Drizzle which floated free to readers from 1983 to 1992, and the much shorter lived Northern Lights Poetry Chaplets Series (1993-95). She is a professional science writer and is currently director of publications for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in the U.S. where she edited the prize-winning quarterly magazine, InsideMS.
Mrs. King is married to the painter Basil King, whose art work has appeared in a number of her books, including Weather and Islamic Miniature.