Born and raised in Manteigas, mainland Portugal, the poet and sculptor João Martins earned a degree in Theology at the Catholic University of Lisbon where he dedicated himself to teaching and education. His father was an artist, and Martins was raised to value both the written word and visual arts. In 1986, he arrived in the United States for a month-long visit, and he ended up relocating to New Jersey with his family. A Jury Casa de Cortes – Leiria prize winner, Martins’ literary influences include Ruy Belo, Pablo Neruda, José Luis Peixoto, Ted Koser, and Carlos Drumond Andrade. He has published seven books:Exercício de Pintura (poetry); A Estrelinha da Serra (short stories);Cânticos Paralelos (poetry); Intervalo das Palavras (poetry); Quando toda a Esperança é Azul (biography); O Seu Nome Era Maria (illustrated poem); and Mãos Verdadeiras (poetry).