Log of the Vigilante

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Co-Winner of the 1998 Mellen Poetry Press Contest Prize
This epic poems shows some of the minute details of the slavery period: the voyage, the sometimes suicides of the captives, the attempts to escape and the rewards advertised by the slaveholders. The is able to capture different voices and tones, in accord with his different subjects. Past, present, and future converge, with the slave ship as symbol.


"In The Log of the Vigilante, Herbert Woodward Martin gives us the major poem (or poem sequence) of his career so far. A consummate literary artist, Martin convincingly incorporates folk elements – spirituals, blues, talking meditations, an ‘auction song’ into his narrative, and the effect is powerful, moving, and harrowing. This is a book that aspires to and achieves greatness." X. J. Kennedy

"Herbert Martin, through many years of passionate labor, has created a powerful, final, and absolutely memorable work, whose genesis is the slave trade of the 18th century. It is history, yes, but much more: it is the immensely complex and present moment of eternal suffering embodied in language. Everyone should read it." Hayden Carruth

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