Inspired by a fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society, the poems in “Begin with Trouble” by Martha Carlson-Bradley often lift, erase, disarrange, or subvert the language of the “1727 New-England Primer”—a book read by children in New England and beyond throughout the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth. “Begin with Trouble” captures different voices in the Puritan community, from white Puritan children struggling with class and mortality, duty and the afterlife, to a Native American survivor of internment and an enslaved young man from Africa.
Martha Carlson-Bradley is the author of several poetry collections and her poems have been published in many literary magazines and anthologies. Her awards include the Robert and Charlotte Baron Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Carlson-Bradley has a PhD in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College, and a BA in English from Salem State College.