During my brief time at Festival International de Louisiane 2010 I saw in the crowd people who were familiar to me but I could not remember under what circumstances I had encountered them before. Perhaps I dreamed them. It was uncanny. There were at least five who were in very close proximity to me who stood out as people that I should know. And then I saw the orthopedic surgeon who operated on my fractured toes. He was with his family moving away from me further into the sea of people. I wanted to fly over the fast-moving, swinging bodies to reach him to shout: “Thank you for saving my poor mangled foot!” I wanted to catch his gaze and just say “Hello, miracle-worker!” with my eyes.
I sat on the steps of the Federal Courthouse which was very near where the TV5Monde Stage was set up. The two women sitting next to me were wearing matching rings on their left hands. I also saw two men kiss on the lips. It made me happy to see love in the open. There was something symbolic too I think in that we were surrounded by same-sex couples on the Federal Courthouse steps. I hope that is a good omen for future strides in the movement for equal rights.
The rising moon was three quarters full. The sky was blue glass-bright and cloudless. Earlier, rain had been predicted. In fact in other southern states there were terrible tornadoes! The weather couldn’t have been better for Festival—it was not too hot, breezy, and cool in shady spots.
The music sent me deeper into myself. I tried to connect with my friends through texts but we were scattered about the downtown area at different performance stages. My fear of crowds abated for a time. No one raged around me. I had my husband with me which always makes me feel secure.
I did not want to leave our spot. I could have sat on the courthouse steps until the music ended and the people streamed back to their ordinary lives beyond this wonderful creative celebration of Francophone and world cultures that are mixed so wonderfully in Louisiana. A world explodes into being in this microcosm made of music, art, food (and drink) film, visual arts, performance arts, spoken word, etc. Such is Festival International de Louisiane.
Arriving at the festival I was energized but leaving I had to stop walking after short distances to take a break and catch my breath. I am terribly out of shape. My husband noted this when we got home. He said it kindly but it still hurt to hear this truth. What have I done to myself? What grief am I holding in my body? Plainly, why do I overeat and live a sedentary life? I gained a great deal of weight and lost muscle when I broke my foot in January of 2009. And after I was rehabilitated I made several half-starts and full-on attempts at changing my behaviors to lose weight. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure a few months ago and while that is under control I know I am stressing my body— my heart and my knees especially by carrying this excess weight. My family is concerned about me and about their own health issues. I want all of us to get healthier.
I cannot continue in this unworkable way of life any longer.
I prepared and sent a packet of ten sample poems, my C.V. and a cover letter to the poetry editor of a press that publishes poetry collections. I have samples of this same manuscript being considered by another press but I can’t wait for one press to answer before sending the work out again. Of course I hope for a positive response from either press. I also will continue tweaking the manuscript to further improve it. I am slow to arrange the poems; and while I am making decisions as to the length, that can be altered by the publisher. Something that I came across which works in my favor is that 75% of the poems I am including in the work have been published. This is desirable. A few of the poems which I am including are currently under consideration too.
Come celebrate National Poetry Month with Clare Martin and Lana Wiggins at Casa Azul. Each will read original poetry, followed by an open mic. Feel free to bring your own poems, songs or stories for the open mic that follows. This free, community event is open to all ages. More details available at http://casaazul.homestead.com
Clare L. Martin is a poet/mother/wife and graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Clare’s creative writing has appeared in Inch, Eclectica Magazine, The Dead Mule, Wheelhouse Magazine, Blue Fifth Review, Clean Sheets, Press1 and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among others. She has work forthcoming in Literary Mama, Blue Fifth Review and in the anthology The Red Room: Writings from Press 1. Her poem “4-Way Stop at Dusk” appears in the anthology Best of Farmhouse Magazine Vol. 1. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets.
Lana Maht Wiggins is currently an English Instructor at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and a former Instructor at the University of New Orleans. Lana is the author of Notes from Refuge, a book of poetry that chronicles her life in New Orleans immediately following Hurricane Katrina. Notes from Refuge was recently nominated for the 2009 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Lana placed 3rd for The Smoking Poet Award in 2008. She was an invited guest poet at the 2008 Encres de Sang International Writer’s Conference in Paris, France, a finalist for the Marsh Hawk Poetry Award in 2006, a recipient of the 1996 Judge Felix Voorhies Award for Creative Writing and a 1996 recipient of the Jon Z. Bennet Award. Lana has been published in The Southwestern Review, The Deep South Writer’s Chapbook, Dance to Death, Words-Myth, Moondance, Knock, and The Smoking Poet.
Date: Thursday, April 15, 2010
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: 232 ML King Grand Coteau, LA
I reorganized this blog by creating a page you can travel to in order to access links to read my poetry that is available in online literary journals. The link to the page is at the top of the header of the main page of the blog, and is titled “Clare’s Publications.” I also have a page “Clare’s Writing Life” which I update often.
Check ’em out.
Happy National Poetry Month!
I have three poems appearing in Vol. II of Scythe amongst a great group of poets including a few I consider friends! Congrats to Helen Losse, Carolee Sherwood, Arlene Ang and Dana Guthrie Martin and all of the poets included in this journal. Can’t wait to peruse the issue.
Thanks to Chenelle and Joe Milford, editors of Scythe.
For the ones who own the responsibility of living the writing life—everything we experience flows into it.