MARTHA writes essays on a wide range of topics—from the personal to the literary, from Italy to Moscow to Berlin. Her nonfiction has appeared in such journals as The Writer’s Chronicle, The Southampton Review, and AGNI. An essay on tinnitus, “What I Hear,” is in the 2015 anthology of short creative nonfiction, Brief Encounters.


Martha’s new and widely acclaimed work, a memoir-in-essays titled Guesswork: A Reckoning With Loss, was published in April 2017 by Catapult. Here is some praise for the book:

Beauty and Sadness, the title of Kawabata’s novel, could equally fit Martha Cooley’s deeply felt, lyrically precise memoir.  Such exquisite descriptions and pointed observations pour forth from this writer, gifted with enviable cultivation and sensibility. — Phillip Lopate

In her new memoir, Guesswork, Martha Cooley explores the issues of loss and grief. With eloquence and tenderness, using as lenses Italy, the deaths of friends, and the nature of love and responsibility toward ageing parents, she has written a lovely, thoughtful  book, full of wisdom and caritas. — Roxana Robinson


Here are some of Martha’s essays:

“Dogs: A Moscow Tryptich,” AGNI

“Pirandello and the Character of Characters,” The Writer’s Chronicle

“The Sound of Being Alone,” A Public Space

“A Bridge Flung Over the Abyss: On the Work of Italo Calvino,” The Writer’s Chronicle

“Sin’s Entertainments: On Dante,” The Writer’s Chronicle

“On the Work of David Markson,” Golden Handcuffs Review

“This Island,” The Southampton Review

“Novel Anxiety,” The Writer’s Chronicle

“Praise Song for Berlin Alexanderplatz,” A Public Space

“The Envoy of Mr. Zbigniew Herbert,” The Writer’s Chronicle

“Blaise Cendrars: A Recommendation,” Post Road

“Go Tell Your Father,” AGNI

“Berlin Alexanderplatz and the Music of Novels,” The Writer’s Chronicle

“What a Circus!,” The Southampton Review