Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Martha Modena Vertreace-Doody  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1945 in Washington, D.C.

-- Website --
-- Martha Vertreace on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Vertreace-Doody lives in Chicago and is a Distinguished Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence, Kennedy-King College.

Biographical and Professional Information

Martha Modena Vertreace-Doody's work focuses on American experiences, as a black woman in the Chicago region, as a participant in American history, and as a community activist. She has been 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.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Second house from the corner
ISBN: 093829900X

Kennedy-King College Print. Dept. 1986

Kelly in the Mirror
ISBN: 0807541524

Albert Whitman & Co. 1993

Kelly longs to discover the person in her family whom she resembles, and one day in the attic, she solves that mystery when she finds a photo album and a cap and a sweater once worn by her mother.

Light Caught Bending
ISBN: 0946230285

diehard. 1995

a book of original poetry

Maafa: When Night Becomes a Lion
ISBN: 0938507249

Ion Books. 1996

Book of Poetry

Second Mourning
ISBN: 0946230498

diehard. 1998

Glacier Fire
ISBN: 1932339590

WordTech Communications. 2005

Book by Vertreace-Doody, Martha Modena

Under a cat's-eye moon : poems
ISBN: 0914403001

Clockwatch Review Press. 1991

Book by Vertreace, Martha M.

In This Glad Hour
ISBN: 0944048595

purple flag. 2014

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


  • The Glendora Review Poet, Lagosm Nigeria
  • Twice Fellow at the Hawthornden International Writers' Retreat in Scotland
  • Poetry Fellow, in residence at the Writers Center, Dublin, Ireland
  • Research Fellow at St. Deiniol's Library, Hawarden, Wales
  • Henry Blakely Award, from Gwendolyn Brooks
  • National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship
  • Illinios Arts Council Literary Awards
  • Illinois Arts Council Fellowship
  • Significant Illinois Poet Award from Gwendolyn Brooks
  • Scottish Arts Council Awards

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)