Dawn Lundy Martin earned a BA from the University of Connecticut, an MA in creative writing from San Francisco State University, and a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Martin's first full-length collection, A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering (University of Georgia Press, 2007), was selected by Carl Phillips for the 2007 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She is also the author of Good Stock Strange Blood (Coffee House Press, 2017), winner of the 2019 Kingsley Tufts Award; Life in a Box Is a Pretty Life (Nightboat Books, 2014); and Discipline (Nightboat Books, 2011), which was selected by Fanny Howe for the 2009 Nightboat Books Poetry Prize.
In 2004, she coedited, alongside Vivien Labaton, The Fire This Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism (Anchor Books, 2004), a collection of essays on modern theories of activism in America. She also wrote the Afterword, titled "What, Then, is Freedom," to Harriet Ann Jacobs' 19th century slave narrative, Incidents of a Slave Girl (Signet Classics, 2010).
Martin is co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation in New York, a national grant-making organization led by young women and transgender youth, which focuses on social justice activism. She is also a member of the Black Took Collective, a group of experimental black poets embracing critical theory about gender, race, and sexuality.
She has been the recipient of two poetry grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and was awarded the 2008 Academy of American Arts and Sciences May Sarton Prize for Poetry.
She has taught at Montclair State University, The New School, and the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College. In February 2018, Martin was the Poem-a-Day Guest Editor. She is currently the Toi Derricotte Chair in English and Director of the Center for African American Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh.