What fueled the writing of many of the poems in Eating the Heart First was the desire to know myself more deeply, beyond motherhood, beyond wifehood; to discover more of myself through the creative process and craft of poetic art. I needed to become something more—to be transformed.


“Write from the depths of your experience—the writing itself will deepen experience.”

These are poems of grief, of ecstatic love and rage. Yes, many of these poems are sorrowful, but there is joy as well.  Find it and you will find something rare to be treasured. The poems are authentic although many of the narratives are likely fictional. Who is to say what the factual truth is?  I was aiming for something higher.

All of my experience informs my art. I have gone to the very edge in this writing and have come back whole.  There are personal poems and there are persona poems.  Take the journey with me. Trust my voice.  

The poems ask for a sacrifice. The poems ask you to give something of yourself in order to imagine their worlds, feel their emotional impact. The price is not too high, and there may be a catharsis, an illumination and some pleasure for you.

Much of my art is in pursuit of the image.  I strive to create arresting, powerful images and metaphors.  While some border on the surreal, I believe they are still accessible.  That is my best talent, I believe.  

I can’t wait for you to have this book in your hands or in your computer/e-reader! Fall 2012!

More soon…be well…there’s writing to do.

8 years and a lifetime

It is rare to ever feel that you have triumphed in life. That is how I feel—triumphant and profoundly grateful.  I made something real.  It was just a wisp of an idea which came on a wind, a small spark that became a fire in me. The work of 8 years and a lifetime went into Eating the Heart First.

I had a baby when I was 15. He was born premature.   Adam’s life is a long story that I cannot tell here. What I can relate is that after a life lived beyond the doctors’ predictions, a life of joy and pain, Adam passed away in 2004. When Adam died, I made a conscious decision to honor his memory by committing myself to The Writing Life. Because the focus we had given to Adam’s care was suddenly not necessary any more I thought, “Beyond what I need to give to and be for my family what can I do for myself?” I needed to write to feel as though I was not giving up on a long held dream. I also made the promise to my daughter, who needs me to succeed; she needs me to set an example for her so that when she dreams she will believe that she can make her dreams real too.

I choose to live without regret. To live without regret we must follow our better instincts which lead us to the Good. The first task was to read, read, read and write, write, write with the focus that I would get better and better and better. I got out of bed to write. I wrote while driving the car. I wrote my dreams and memories. I wrote what I believed was in the heads of strangers. I sought out other writers to be a part of a community and began submitting my work.

I took on my Writing Life as though it was a business. Being a poet was my job. I had a professional background in public relations, marketing and sales. I decided these skills would be necessary to have any success at writing. 

In the 8 years since Adam’s death, sixty poems of mine have been published.  I have read publicly about twenty times. I am a Teaching Artist with the Acadiana Center for the Arts. I just founded the “Voices” reading series and I have a forthcoming book.

Writing has saved my life many times. Creating this book gave me not only the satisfaction of making something beautiful and lasting but marks a true high point in my way of living.  I will spare you the clinical details, but I have struggled for decades to be well, to recover from bad breakdowns that left years in ruins.

Being able to claw myself back to a real and rewarding life is thankfully possible because I have good caregivers, a strong family and wonderful friends.  I have not beaten the disease but I have beaten it back–

The making of the book (the writing of it) has come to completion and is outside of me now.  So much energy is freed. I will get behind the book when it is published in the fall in every way I can. I am looking forward to the new challenges that selling a book will present.

Eating the Heart First, my debut poetry collection, is slated for a fall 2012 release as a Tom Lombardo Selection from Press 53. You will be hearing much more about it. I must self-promote because I want to move you with my poetry. 

I invite you to read me here. And do keep your eye on this site for news of new adventures in my Writing Life, readings and new publications and such.  Thank you.  

“Come, come, be transformed. “

COMING SOON: My First Book!

I have been BURSTING to tell you this:
My debut poetry collection, Eating the Heart First, will be published by Press 53 this fall as a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection.
I am profoundly grateful to Kevin Morgan Watson and Tom Lombardo for this incredible opportunity to share my words with the world. I poured myself out for this book–
Thank you thank you thank you…♥
More soon.
Now it is time for DANCING.



Warm up with words;
coffee, tea, hot cocoa & espresso—
… or keep it cool
                with gelato!

812 Jefferson Street

February 4th, 2012
7 pm to 8:30 pm

Patrice Melnick’s memoir, Turning Up the Volume, (Xavier Press) was published in 2005 and a collection of her essays is forthcoming in 2012 from Catalyst Book Press. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals including Grain, Buffalo Bones and Prism International. Melnick taught at Xavier University in New Orleans and at the University of New Orleans. She holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Following Hurricane Katrina, Melnick opened Casa Azul Gifts in Grand Coteau and started a literary reading and open mic series. In 2010, she established the nonprofit Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective Inc.

Clare L. Martin is a poet-mother-wife; a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Martin’s poetry has appeared in Avatar Review, Poets and Artists and The Centrifugal Eye, among others. She has been nominated for Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web (2011) for Best New Poets and Sundress Publication’s Best of the Net. Her work was selected for the 2011 Press 53 Spotlight anthology which features a select group of emerging poets and writers. Clare is a Teaching Artist through the Acadiana Center for the Arts.