Biography …and stuff

Martina Reisz Newberry was born in Upland, California, daughter of a steel working, storytelling father and and an extremely gifted artist mother. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative.


Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is BLUES FOR FRENCH ROAST WITH CHICORY, available from Deerbrook Editions. She is the author of NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE(from Deerbrook Editions), WHERE IT GOES (Deerbrook Editions),

photo 2LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press). All books are available from this website’s “Bookshoppe.” 

Newberry has been included in The Cenacle, Cog, Blue Nib, Braided Way Roanoak Review, THAT Literary Review, Mortar Magazine, and many other literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad.
Her work can also be found in the anthologies Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Moontide Press Horror Anthology, A Decade of Sundays: L.A.’s Second Sunday Poetry Series-The First Ten Years and others.



She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts.

                                            Djerassi Resident Artists Program | Transartists       Djerrasi


Martina Reisz Newberry was born in Upland, California, daughter of a steel working, storytelling father and and an extremely gifted artist mother. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, Project Wasabi (podcast) - Brian Newberry | Listen Notes a Media Creative.



Los Angeles is my woman, my mother, my sister, my lover, my friend, my monster. I am L.A ’s slave and her bitch and her partner and her conqueror and her patient and her most fervent fan. Los Angeles has been my comfort and sometimes a dangerous companion.  I love this city as much as I have loved any person and so I write inside her and about her.

I was an only child. My parents were older than most of my friends’ parents so they were more sedate in their ways. I was shy and scared of nearly everything. Poetry became my brothers and sisters and my friends. I ate with poems and slept with them and played with them. It didn’t take too many years for me to write poems and show them to themselves. It took a long-ass time for me to show them to anyone else.

Jean Cocteau said, “The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.”  I believe that. The truth is what the reader gets out of the poem, not always a truth that is written into it.

Words don’t fail me. 
I can always find them somewhere. 
They try to hide–-
in silence, 
under cover of fear, in the dark 
of confusion or the burden 
of near-unbearable grief.
I find them, though.
I know their hiding places…

And here is the ideal “College for Bards” as daydreamed by W.H. Auden in his essay
The Poet and The City collected in The Dyer’s Hand.

33 Quotes By Poets On Poetry

I like Number 5 a whole lot.


















I really liked this poem and laughed because I’m guilty of your reference.  What inspired the title?

When I was a youngster, telephone service was either “Party Lines” or “Private Lines.” If you had a party line (which most everyone I knew had) you could pick up the phone and hear other people on the line carrying on conversations. You had to wait until the line was free to use the phone. If you listened in and weren’t caught at it, you could hear lengthy conversations about people’s lives and fears and griefs and relationships. I didn’t like it because I was a very shy, private kid and didn’t want people to know my business. I complained about it often. I asked my mother “Why can’t we have a private line so people don’t listen in on us?” Mother said, “For all the good they are, private lines are too expensive.”  That stayed with me for some reason. Thinking it over as an adult I came to see that it IS expensive to keep everything about yourself to yourself. It’s a lonely life if you live it like that. The price you pay for ultimate secrecy, close, tight privacy is loneliness.

What a beautiful reason and a historical lesson on the title. 

“The poets all want you to see….” Is this a trend you found within the L.A. poetry community?  Poets in general?

It’s a trend I’ve found in many artists–poets, painters, dancers, writers of all kinds. It’s a kind of dichotomy that says to the public, “Come here, but not too close. Go away, but not too far.” Artists have a thinner skin than most people, everything is too hot, too cold, too sweet, too harsh, too painful, etc. Name a feeling, supersize it for artists.

What is the experience that prompted “eat alone” stanza?

I’m guilty of having dessert at a restaurant because I don’t keep it at home.  Can you elaborate the stigma that comes with eating dessert alone?  Does it signify depression?

I’m not sure about a stigma or depression…As an only child, mealtimes were very quiet at my house. My mother was very quiet, and my dad ate dinner quickly and retired to his chair in the living room with the newspaper, the radio, the television. I often found myself eating alone while my mother cleaned up the table and started washing dishes. For some reason, being offered dessert while sitting there by myself reminded me that I was very alone, sort of like living in a bubble. When I visited and lived with my aunt and cousins, mealtimes were wonderfully chaotic. Chattering and bickering and lots of talk about the food–whose favorite it was and who didn’t like what, passing dishes back and forth, being nagged to drink milk, my aunt and uncle trying to keep peace and eat at the same time. I loved it. It was so alive! When dessert came, there were outcries of “She got more than me! I want just ice cream no cake! I’ll have his cake!” Delightful chaos, everyone at the table involved in the theater of eating. To this day, I find it difficult to truly enjoy food alone. I always have a book with me to take up that “alone” space.

“Same stories”  Was this a thought as to how there’s nothing new?  A poetry trend or reflection of self?

Oh no! Things are made new all the time. “Same stories” refers to the oneness that everyone shares and the different tones and shades and nuances that are present in that oneness. Planes fly in everyone’s sky, but do you experience them the way I do? People meet at train stations and airports and shake hands or hug or kiss or wave a sign, but are they meeting the same way I meet someone. And, what about that “someone”? Is it a friend, a lover, a potential employee/employer, a sibling?

“They want you to see…”  beautiful visual stanza.  Do you reflect on the theme of demons and saints?  Is this a common theme in some of your poems?

Demons and saints are so different to each person. Have someone get angry at you and you will soon see her/his demons. You won’t even know why that particular moment is demonic, you’ll just know that it is. Her/his saints are there too, in a kind word or gesture or act which they showed you at just the right time. One person’s “demon rum” is another’s “… use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake …” (1 Tim 5:23).

“They just want you to see it is all”  Do you feel the essence of poetry is to let the reader “see it is all”?

I do. I think artists make a path through their aloneness by guiding the public to “see” it, whatever “it” is from the artist’s point of view, from her/his heart and mind. When a reader or an art lover or a lover of the dance hears someone say, “I understand what you mean. I get it. I see what you see,” when that happens, a light shines on that path of aloneness and artists continue to find their way by that light.

Any last notes on poems?  Books?  Is there anything you’d like the audience to know?

Yeah. I would ask, plead, cajole with people to buy poetry. Buy books from the presses, from the authors, and, lastly, from stores. Buy poetry and then look up the writer and tell her/him/them that you have their book and you like it or hate it or are confused by it or…You’ll be better for it. The writer will be better for it. I really think the world would better for it.

Love and gratitude to Sonia Lozada at Poetic Resurrection for this interview.