“Marsh Song I”

marsh-song-1“Marsh Song I*” Mixed media, Clare L. Martin ©2016

We drive westward along the Louisiana coast on a crumbling highway with my parents. The sky purples with becoming light. Our bellies are full of boudin and cracklins. Hot coffee is handed carefully from the front seat to my husband and I seated in the back.

We sing “J’ai Passe Devant Ta Porte” or “Bon Vieux Mari,” called by my mother and responded to by my father. Always my father embellishes his responses. My mother rolls down her window and points to the Roseate Spoonbills lifting from their roosts. My father stops singing and praises God.

A prayer is said for loved ones, wherever they are. More of the morning sky erupts over the marsh. I think of painters, how I wish to be one, how I have tried with my words. This day we are traveling to see Sandhill Cranes that have been spotted in Creole, a few miles from here. We always take the scenic route and happily travel from dawn to dusk.

How many times have we come to this slipping away land and been blessed by our forgetfulness of the world’s problems and our own? Countless. How much do I miss these two people who gave and saved my life? My longing cannot be measured.

To treasure the dead is our inheritance.

*I dedicate this artwork and these words to my beloved family, especially to my deceased loved ones, wherever they are.


Clare L. Martin

Hello, World! Let me move you with my words.

Clare L. Martin

My debut collection of poems is now available for pre-order from Press 53 as a Tom Lombardo Selection. Click on the cover image to take you to my page where you can order it. If you pre-order, you will have your book in hand, signed by me approximately one month before the publication date of Oct. 1st.

So much of my heart went into this book, it pulses. I hope you will enjoy! Love and thanks,


View original post

30 years from age 13

I was a bit anxious before we set out–I had not been to New Orleans since August 2005–a couple of weeks before The Storm. It was so good to be in the city again and to experience needed psychic healing by seeing a vibrant, energized city. Maybe it was the great weather but the peeps seemed joyful all around.  We didn’t have any negative experiences. Everything was cool.

My first visit to New Orleans was when I was 13 years old. I went with my parents and we stayed on St. Charles. I fell in love with the city–it wasn’t just a teenage crush–I rode the streetcars up and down the line over and over again and longed to live there when I grew up. Something caught my eye in a small NOLA newspaper I picked up on that trip back in 1981. A notice for a poetry reading at The Maple Leaf Bar. Wow. Poetry. Cool! I was just beginning to write pimpled and hormone-soaked lines.  I BEGGED my parents to take me or let me go on my own. I had never ever been to a poetry reading before. I had never ever been to a bar either but that didn’t factor into my comprehension of the potentially incredible, once in a lifetime possibility. A poetry reading sounded chic and exotic compared to my just up from the country-boudin and cracklin upbringing. I was really messed up when my parents wouldn’t let me go and I considered sneaking to Oak St. because I wanted to be there so badly.  (Same thing happened when the Stones played the Superdome in 1981. It killed me that I couldn’t go.)

My old, fuddy-duddy folks were so lame! So I didn’t go and wouldn’t go for another 30 years.

Today was my first time ever at The Maple Leaf. Today I was actually a featured artist there thanks to Jonathan Penton of www.unlikelystories.org   The Everette C. Maddox Memorial Prose & Poetry Reading held every Sunday at 3 PM in the courtyard of the Maple Leaf Bar is the longest running reading series in North America.  It was a great high for me to read there and be a part of the Louisiana tradition.

We arrived during the third quarter of a home Saints game and the bar crowd was wild to put it mildly. The Saints won and the Unlikely Saints did too. Our readings were sublime in my humble opinion. I hated leaving at the start of the open mic but tonight’s a school night and we had a long drive home.

This weekend in New Orleans, among many things, I experienced the Good that poetry is and the Good it can do. There was “good” poetry (and prose) for certain but I think our group the Unlikely Saints (Jonathan Penton, Michael Harold, Frankie Metro, Wendy Taylor Carlisle, and Kristina Marshall) and our audiences experienced the Good Vibrations that can occur in optimum circumstances when lovers and makers of art gather to expeience creative work.  Thanks to everyone who came out to listen, read, laugh with us. Most especially thanks to Jonathan for the invitation and all of his hard work.

Tuesday will be my birthday.  30 years from age 13, I have two completed manuscripts with good prospects, poems published in the double digits, a strong writing practice and lots of love and good energy surrounding me. This weekend was a circle completing and I hope to widen an (unbroken) circle in the future.

And I leave you with these humble words as a gift: 

Bless you, you who create art. Believe in your craft; give to it as much as you can.  Let it awaken you and be the matter of your dreams—

Your voice is both vulnerable and strong. Care for it. Bring the words which fly madly through you into the world through the discipline to which you adhere.  Share it. Give it another life in someone’s mind and heart.

And follow this creed—

“Each success, no matter how small, in the practice of what I love is a lightning strike against the dark.”




Hello. My Name is Clare.

Hello. My name is Clare.  Welcome (again) to my website.

I purchased the domain https://clarelmartin.com/ today and will be writing here with more frequency. I hope I can count you as a reader.

I will muse upon the writing life, real-life happenings, sleep revelations, waking prophecies, earth, wind, fire—things I am passionate about and the few things I hate with passion.  

Certainly, I will try to keep it interesting and valuable.

Stay tuned…




My prayers and thoughts for healing the suffering of your people go out to you…I have and will continue to give what I can.

My prayers, too, are for all who are suffering in mind and body.

Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 on behalf of the American Red Cross. — Text YELE to 501501 to donate $5 on behalf of The Yele Haiti Foundation.

In Clear Voices: Lana Maht Wiggins & Clare L. Martin

Casa Azul Reading Series
(Hosted by Patrice Melnick)

In Clear Voices: Lana Maht Wiggins & Clare L. Martin


Thursday, April 9, 2009

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Casa Azul Gifts

 232 ML King Dr

Grand Coteau, LA

Host: Patrice Melnick

Phone: 3376621032

Email: casa.azul.gc@gmail.com


Thursday, April 9, 2009. 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., poets Lana Maht Wiggins and Clare L. Martin will read original works of poetry, followed by Open Mic.

Lana Maht Wiggins is the author of Notes from Refuge (Plain View Press), poetic narratives of her life in New Orleans and her personal refugee experience immediately following Hurricane Katrina. Notes from Refuge was a finalist in the 2006 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Contest. Lana also received the Judge Felix Voorhies Award for Creative Writing and a Jon Z. Bennet Award in The Deep South Writer’s Conference Poetry Contest in 1996. She has been published in The Southwestern Review, Deep South Writer’s Chapbook, Dance to Death, Words-Myth, Moondance, Knock and The Smoking Poet.

Clare L. Martin is a poet-mother-wife. Her creative writing has appeared in Inch, Eclectica Magazine, Wheelhouse Magazine and The Blue Fifth Review and in other literary magazines. Her poem “4-Way Stop at Dusk” appears in the anthology Best of Farmhouse Magazine Vol. 1.  She is also the playwright of “Waterlines” produced in April and November of 2006, and in May 2007, as part of the project “Sustained Winds,” a collaboration with the theater company Acting Up (in Acadiana) and 40 Louisiana artists responding to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2007, “Sustained Winds” was performed in New York City as part of FringeNYC. Sustained Winds was again performed at Festival International de Louisiane April 25, 2008.

Recently Clare served as a poet-presenter of a poetry workshop and facilitator of a storytelling session for the first annual Festival of Words, in the communities of Sunset and Grand Coteau, LA; and served as Lead Writer for Play. Music. Heal.: a multi-disciplined collaborative theatre work-in-development by the company Acting Up (in Acadiana.) The project brings together actors, musicians and writers in creating a contemporary story revolving around the potential for music to heal.

The performances will be followed by an Open Mic of poetry and music in which everyone is invited to participate.  This free event takes place from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in Grand Coteau at Casa Azul, 232 ML King Dr. Free Black Beans and Rice.

Secret Hideaway












Last Christmas we took a little vacation (lakeside cabin, paths, fireplace, good food and drink, snuggly time) and we are set to do the same this year. Our nature getaway is 96 days away and I am already getting excited. The photos above were taken by me last year to document how I like to spend my time at our “place” RELAXING. READING. wRITING. (and sleeping) 

Our winter retreat comes to mind because right now someone is burning sweet wood in our neighborhood. There will be lots of wood burning outdoors in the fire pit/ring and indoors in the cabin’s fireplace. With all of the limbs down from trees that have fallen during the hurricanes around here we should begin to put some pecan and oak up so that it will be well-seasoned for us to bring along.


We need this time away.  I want it when it happens but I want it right this very moment too.

Take a Hike Ike

We’re okay.  We never lost power. We got wind and some rain but that is all.


EDIT:  I was speaking of my immediate family’s condition.  But  I am very sad about the loss, devastation and pain others south and west of us are experiencing.  The surge-flooding that occurred in coastal Louisiana is greater than what happened during Rita. I know I have cousins in the Delcambre and Erath areas who had several feet of water in their homes. Some graves were unearthed due to the flooding.  Major disaster down there too.

 My heart goes out to Texas too.

Please check The Daily Advertiser for photo galleries and coverage of the storm as it has impacted Louisiana and its aftermath.