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Martha Modena Vertreace-Doody

Born: November 24, 1945 in Washington, D.C.
Died: November 12, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois

Pen Name: Martha M. Vertreace

Connection to Illinois: Vertreace-Doody lived in Chicago and was a Distinguished Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at Kennedy-King College.

Biography: Martha Modena Vertreace-Doody's work focused on American experiences, as a black woman in the Chicago region, as a participant in American history, and as a community activist. She was involved in Chicago's Catholic and African American communities, serving as a time as an editor of Community Magazine at Friendship House in Chicago and publishing poetry in the National Catholic Reporter.

  • Glacier Fire Word Press Poetry Prize, 2004
  • Light Caught Bending Scottish Arts Council Grant, 1995 the first time the award was given to a writer who is not British
  • Other Awards The Glendora Review Poet, Lagosm Nigeria

Primary Literary Genre(s): Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles


Flume Press 1994

This is a beautiful book of poetry. A reviewer "Her work is rich with subtleties, careful imagery, agreeable varieties of music. It is obvious that she is committed to her positives and will say nothing that she does not feel. She is a steadily growing artist, with an impressive future." Gwendolyn Brooks

  Dragon Lady: Tsukimi

Riverstone 1999

Glacier Fire
ISBN: 1932339590 OCLC: 58806299

Word Press, Cincinnati, OH : ©2004.

In This Glad Hour
ISBN: 0944048595 OCLC: 1162578280

Several years ago, I stumbled across the Diary of Mrs. Joseph Duncan (Elizabeth Caldwell Smith), edited by her granddaughter Elizabeth Duncan Putnam, under a pile of yearbooks at Prairie Archives Book Store in Springfield, Illinois. Born in 1808 in New York, Elizabeth Caldwell Smith lived on Pearl Street, near the Battery. She married General Joseph Duncan, then followed him to Jacksonville, where he served as the sixth governor of Illinois. The diary, in fragmented entries, covers the period from 1824 to 1848. Written by a woman whose attitudes toward educating women and freeing the slaves far exceeded her peers, the diary fascinated me. I started writing poems in the voice of Elizabeth Caldwell Duncan, following the approach of historical fiction. Not only did I write about events which her diary and letters document, I also created situations which captured the spirit of her life and times. Nevertheless the poems demanded their day in the sun, and I had promised Elizabeth that I would bring them forth, gathering them in In This Glad Hour. -Martha Modena Vertreace-Doody

Kelly in the mirror /
ISBN: 0807541524 OCLC: 26255832

A. Whitman, Morton Grove, Ill. : ©1993.

A young girl feels sad that she doesn't look like anyone in her family--until she finds a photograph album in the attic.

Light caught bending /
ISBN: 0946230285 OCLC: 33208660

Diehard, Edinburgh : ©1995.

Maafa: When Night Becomes a Lion
ISBN: 0938507249 OCLC: 34282395

Ion Books, Memphis, TN : 1996.

  Second House from the Corner
ISBN: 093829900X OCLC: 13665677

Kennedy-King College Print. Dept., Chicago : 1986.

  Second Mourning
ISBN: 0946230498 OCLC: 40179616

Diehard, Edinburgh : ©1998.

  Smokeless Flame (Vertreace)
ISBN: 096482325X OCLC: Sacramento, CA :

1998 Sacramento, CA : Frith Press

Under a Cat's-Eye Moon: Poems
ISBN: 0914403001 OCLC: 24143447