Tupelo Quarterly: “The unassuming nature of the prose poem’s form, coupled with a childlike philosophy regarding life and death, effortlessly invite readers into the worlds this book creates. As it does so, Martens establishes herself not only as a serious prose poet, but as a prose poet with something new to offer the genre.” by Hannah Dow, July 2017

Scout: “Many of these poems are full of tender observations about what it means to protect someone from the world and help them grow within it, but there are also times when fears are realized…This tension lives in the book as it lives in the life of a parent who protects a child and also knows the limits of that protection.” January 2016

South 85 Journal: “You’ll never read a more playful book of doomsday poems than Amelia Marten’s The Spoons in the Grass are There to Dig a Moat. Martens’ dark humor is delightfully paired with her astute observations of quiet pleasures. Her poems are grand with sweeping cosmic battles and frequent mentions of death and the end times, while also intricately small…”  by Amy Sawyer, Dec. 15, 2016

The Mom Egg Review: The two strongest currents in the book are parenthood and the sad state of the world into which we bring our children. Even so, the book feels more mystical than bleak… The collection includes a number of mini mythologies (“A Field,” “In the Land of Milk,” “Almost Biblical”) that are imaginative, surprising and charming, even though they’re stories of how far we’ve fallen, and how ungratefully we confront the incompleteness of our given lives.” by Libby Maxey, August 14, 2016

rob mclennan’s blog: “Composed in striking, self-contained sentences that accumulate into delightful single-paragraph narratives, the pieces in this collection seem closer to (select) works of fiction by Gary Barwin, Ken Sparling, Sarah Manguso and Lydia Davis than “poems,” causing me to read the book as a delightfully rich collection of very short, dense, occasionally dark and even whimsical stories.” July 31, 2016

Entropy Magazine: “Ultimate Summer Reading List” includes The Spoons in the Grass are There to Dig a Moat, July 2016 “The Way of Tenderness and Compassion”“…Many of Martens’ poems highlight how, in a globalized world, we are all connected, yet it is a privilege of the first world…to carry on as if our actions do not affect—that is, harm—others. If we can’t protect ourselves, and our children, from the reality of the world’s destruction, then the least we can do, Martens seems to say, is to see it clearly and without flinching…In reading these poems, one senses not only open eyes, but an open heart as well. If the world breaks your heart, then it also has the capacity to enlarge it.” by Joanna Lin Want, June 23, 2016

Library Journal: “Summer Poetry: 13 Smart New Collections from Debut and Veteran Authors Alike” “In this affecting volume of prose poems, a debut collection after a string of chapbooks, Martens moves from the beautiful, imperfect moments of domesticity (“And the apology I made for you came from a willow tree. From a lemon. From some mud I found in the living room”) to issues of global urgency (“A man says a bomb doesn’t have to be big;… an explosion of any size is enough”). Often, as she waxes intimately philosophical, Martens embraces both family and the political…VERDICT An accomplished start-up from a poet to watch.” June 2016

Plume: “Martens creates immediacy, intrigue, and traction by beginning her best poems with peculiar narrative situations, striking metaphorical transformations, or nakedly bold pronouncements. Few stretch beyond the middle of the page and most contain a dozen or fewer sentences. Despite their brevity, however, Martens’ view of the world remains keenly panoramic…” by Adam Tavel, June 2016

Ohio Edit:  “…Martens, on the other hands, starts from a similar launching point – Why are we here? And what’s the point? – but doesn’t feel obliged to give concrete answers, because such answers don’t exist for her. She addresses her readers with the same level of honesty and respect with which her speaker addresses the daughter…Let’s explore our fears, she seems to be saying in this and other poems. Let’s admit how scary our world is instead of hiding under the covers. Let’s open our eyes…” by Andrew Bomback, May 19, 2016

Publishers Weekly: “Martens centers her debut collection of quietly poignant prose poems on family, religion, and myth as she seeks a fragile safety in an uncertain, violent world….Martens’s stripped-down language is her greatest asset…. [C]harming and often profound… the personal touches soar, evidence of a solid poet finding her voice.” May 2, 2016

MONKEYBICYCLE: Book Review The Spoons in the Grass are There to Dig a Moat, “ overwhelming, and heartbreaking—a book that processes, through the unique mind of its author, more things than I can list here. In this book are losses upon losses, the love and impossibility of children, and a frequently alarming, but always strangely accurate, depiction of the country we live in.” by Robert Long Foreman, April 28, 2016

Barrelhouse Reviews, “Amelia Martens’ debut collection contends with the surreality of parenting in the Age of Terror. At times wry, other times heartbroken, the speakers in these prose poems see tragedy and the potential for it everywhere…” by Elizabeth Onusko, April 13, 2016

Politics & Prose Bookstore/Coffeehouse: “…an utterly delightful collection of prose poems…amusing and cutting commentary…a fantastic, stunning book…”, April 7, 2016

Literary Hub, “Celebrate National Poetry Month with 10 New Must-Read Collections”, “…a book of prose poetry that packs a mighty punch…Her writing is unassuming and unpretentious as, again and again, she reaches into the mundane and pulls out the extraordinary.” April 1, 2016


Medium, Author Spotlight, #17, Sept. 2017

Song of the Week, Coldfront, January 25, 2017

rob mclennan’s blog “12 or 20 (second series) questions”, Dec. 19, 2016

The Cloudy House, July 12, 2016

Tell Tell Poetry: Interview with Amelia Martens, May 24, 2016

5-9 Working Writers: “Small in-between moments” With Amelia Martens, May 21, 2016

WordMothers: Meet Amelia Martens, May 2, 2016

largehearted boy Book Notes-Amelia Martens The Spoons in the Grass are There To Dig a Moat, April 12, 2016

Ron Hogan’s Beatrice: Amelia Martens and Year of the Snake, March 27, 2016

Paducah Life, Interview by Susie Fenwick, March/April 2016

Carpe Noctem Book Interview with Amelia Martens, Feb. 29, 2016

PURGATORY, Black Lawrence Press (2012)


Lit Review: Purgatory

Seattle PI: Book Review Purgatory: Poems 

Neon: A Literary Magazine: Review Purgatory

GoodReads, Purgatory Reviews

Pomegranate Seeds, Prose Poetry and Purgatory

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