Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, approximately seventy-five miles north of New York City, Martha Golensky enjoyed careers as a secondary-school French teacher, college administrator, nonprofit executive and university professor, which took her to places in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Michigan. Since retiring as professor of social work at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she has relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina.
Although she had written numerous articles for both academic and practitioner publications and is the author of the textbook Leadership and Management in Nonprofit Organizations: Theory and Practice, she did not discover her talent for poetry writing until after retirement. Her poems have now been published in anthologies, literary magazines, general purpose magazines and online. She also teaches poetry writing for a nonprofit organization in Greensboro that serves older adults.
In her debut collection, Martha Golensky explores the many meanings we attach to the word place, from a rented house that becomes a weekend home to a church that offers its congregants more than just a stirring sermon to a city in a foreign land that allows a troubled soul to start anew. Place also refers to particular spots or parts of the body. Each poem features a tapestry of rich physical details, thus painting a vivid word picture, as though the reader were in that very setting along with the poet. This collection, by acknowledging the impact of the memories we attach to the places we’ve visited or experienced, often takes us on an unexpected emotional journey, perhaps to relive a cherished excursion with a long-gone parent or recall the bittersweet taste of a doomed love affair or suffer a painful encounter with man’s ultimate cruelty at a former Nazi prison camp. Because the poems have been organized in a quasi-chronological order, the overall and lasting impression is of a full and eclectic life.
Joseph M Knight