Quickie before bed, well…

I was asked to participate in the Acadiana Center for the Arts DAF FY2012 AWARDS CELEBRATION for grant recipients held Monday—I was asked to read for this as one part of a showcase of local artists who are in partnership with the AcA.

As part of the entertainment segment of the “Celebration” there was an excerpt performed of an original contemporary dance piece “I’VE STOPPED HAVING THAT DREAM I’VE BEEN HAVING” choreographed by Paige Krause (which will be performed in its entirety November at the AcA.) Rose Hoffman Cormier and Jessica Jouclard, from a locally produced musical, sang a rousing bit about road kill! There were two of us poets—Kelly Clayton and myself.

It was such a thrill to be invited to this celebration. The state grants awarded in this ceremony, the people who implement the arts programs throughout the parishes the AcA serves, cultivate our creativity-rich Louisiana culture, making economic gains for the Acadiana area and beyond, and enhancing value for our state. These arts programs enrich, inspire, educate, and transform people.

It was a joy to hear Kelly read. I love Kelly’s work—it is clear, often tender and truthful, always strong and lyrical—hers is well-imagined art.  She is a passionate woman and writes with that great passion needed to process an experience into art.

The James Devon Moncus Theatre is a great space and this was only the second time I’ve read there. I read recently for the 100,000 Poets for Change event on September 24th and Monday.

On Monday I read three poems: “Remembering,” “Winters at the Lake” and “I Have Learned to Hold My Tongue.”  I was a little nervous but I think my voice was strong, although I was breathy.  I joked a bit with the audience and spoke plainly about my turn to The Writing Life seven years ago after a family member (my son) died, as a way to process grief.

I think I recall too that I said that I embraced my gift and honored it so that I could do what I was born to do—be a poet.  That’s not arrogant. It’s the most humble thing I’ve ever spoken.

The reading felt good.  I wanted to share poems that were specifically Louisiana-themed, although “I Have Learned…” is not. So many people who are arts-connected were there and gave both Kelly and me  heartfelt compliments and comments about the readings.

I was in a swoon and may have said silly things! I am still in a swoon–it’s Thursday and Monday is still on my mind!

A few months ago I bought blank business cards from Office Depot and found a template in Word that helped me make a personalized card for myself. It simply reads: Clare L. Martin POET and has my contact info. I was able to mingle with the recipients and guests after the program, and was asked for contact info so I handed several out.

Seven years ago, when I made my commitment to The Writing Life, I asked myself, “What is the smartest way to become successful at anything?”  I decided to treat it like a job. Give myself respect. Put in long hours. Always push myself to be greater than myself. Don’t compete with others but with myself—I can be better than me!  Learn as much as I can and let experience deepen me–say yes when the Boss asks you to do something.

I have said yes to almost every opportunity that has come my way in these past seven years.  I have accumulated a ton of raw material and finished works that I am actively and successfully marketing. Yes, I made silly “poet” cards to hand out to people I meet. It‘s quirky and I get weird looks sometimes but it is a true fact that I am a poet, and as a professional poet I need to be prepared and ready when opportunities to connect and share arise. 

Congrats to the Acadiana area DAF 2012 grants recipients and thank you for giving so much to the communities you serve through arts programming.

So much more could be said…time for bed.