Martin Dickinson was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Pennsylvania and Southeastern Massachusetts. He began writing as an undergraduate student at Georgetown University, where he met and was influenced by poets William Stafford, Marvin Bell and George Starbuck. He did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, studying medieval literature, Latin and Greek. To support himself, he worked in a law library and a geology museum, as a billing clerk in a trucking company and as a teaching assistant in English literature and composition.
Since graduate school, he has worked for over three decades as a union organizer and nonprofit development officer. After a long break, he resumed writing in 2003, attending workshops led by poets Richard Blanco, Stanley Plumly, and Michele Wolf at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Martin’s poems focus on family, work, nature and time and frequently echo classical carpe diem and ubi sunt motifs. His work has appeared in on-line and print journals including California Quarterly, Heartlodge, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Isotope, Nth Position, Poeticdiversity, the Litzine of Los Angeles and (in Russian translation) the Russian language weekly, Kontinent.
He has two poems in World of Water, World of Sand, A Cape Cod Collection of Poetry, Fiction and Memoir, which has been a best-seller in grocery stores and bookstores in Provincetown and Wellfleet, Massachusetts. His chapbook My Concept of Time is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.
Martin has read Emily Dickinson (he is not related) with poet laureate Robert Pinsky at the Library of Congress for the Favorite Poem Project, and his reflections on Dickinson’s “The Grass so little has to do” appear in the project’s anthology, An Invitation to Poetry.
He and his wife, Phyllis Torda, live in Glover Park, Washington, D.C. Martin has two sons, one living with his son-in-law in Brooklyn, New York, and the other in Geneva, Switzerland. His daughter, son-in-law and grandson live in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He is a distance runner, T’ai chi practitioner and serves as vice president of an environmental organization.