How it came to be

After my first book, Eating the Heart First, came out in 2012, I got very involved with the writing community in Acadiana. We recruited writers to join various writing groups and literary life took off. I worked as a participant and a leader, too. For the past almost five years, I’ve developed quite a great amount of “new” writing through the group work.

My mother died in 2014 and it gutted me to the core. I have been blessed to have made friends with many deeply spiritual and wonderful women after my mom’s death. All of them poets. One of them, my bestie Bessie Senette, is a very special woman. I was at her home feeling very depressed. This was in late 2015. She said some important things to me that helped me feel better then she pointed a finger at me and said, “You need to write another damn book.” That day I began working toward a manuscript with much of the material I had produced over the years since the first book.

When I had something cohesive, polished, and strong, I mentioned the manuscript to J Bruce Fuller. I told him I felt the work was too edgy; had strong adult language and sexual tones for my first book’s publisher’s apparent tastes. He said, “Send it to me.”

J had it for several months. I decided that I would not send it out to any other publisher until I heard back from J, because I love the work he is doing with his team at Yellow Flag Press. On May 22, J Bruce let me know (in public, at a reading, while he was on stage at the microphone) that Yellow Flag Press was going to publish Seek the Holy Dark as the 2017 selection of The Louisiana Cajun and Creole Poets Series. It was so thrilling and a real surprise. J didn’t think I was going to be so surprised, but I was completely blown away!

I hope those of you who have pre-ordered the book know how deeply grateful I am. I love this book. It is an exclamation of the adult me. I used to say that Eating the Heart First was written for human beings. This new book was written for human beings but also for poets. I take risks with language and experiment with form. I go deep and focus hard on my subject–life–physical and metaphysical. I hope those of you who take the chance of buying it will be enthralled. That is my hope.—seek-the-holy-dark


Dream of Sudden Water

The poem below, “Dream of Sudden Water,” was originally published in Unlikely Stories. It is collected in Seek the Holy Dark, forthcoming in 2017 from Yellow Flag Press.

Seek the Holy Dark is the 2017 selection of the Louisiana Series of Cajun and Creole Poetry by Yellow Flag Press.

Seek the Holy Dark is now available for pre-order. Trade paperback, 66 pages, only $10. Pre-orders will ship in early February. To order click here.


Dream of Sudden Water


asleep in the woods
dreaming of a fleeting love
the grass sprouts through me

the sky is copper
patinaed with hues of blue
the dream breaks open

a red mare pulls through
apparitions of water
whisperings come

understanding lies
in the soft flicker of sense
in the depth of sleep

six crows razed storm clouds
and bled us of all our strength
what madness is this?

a harrowing thought
deep in my petrified bones—
wash me, savior

we drop through this world
into dark awakening
we, the strong-hearted


© 2017, Clare L. Martin


2017 Mentorships

If you feel you need creative coaching, cursory consulting on a manuscript, want to work one on one on your writing craft, or all of the above, consider engaging my services. (I also provide poetry book-length manuscript consultations. Fees are negotiated individually and are not the same as the quoted fee below, which is for the Mentorship arrangement).

The writing mentorships are structured courses that provide energetic and substantive relative-to-now literary conversations between the mentor and mentees. Great emphasis will be placed on craft and form. The mentee should have expectations of fast-paced, rigorous writing and reflective, nurturing, and honest feedback from a skilled and admired contemporary poet and publisher.

Specific goals of the six-week course will be decided upon in conversation prior to agreements being made. It is encouraged that the mentee sets goals at the outset with guidance to produce visible, realistic results. Mentorships will be conducted through email, phone, and weekly consultations in person, if local to Acadiana, or via Skype link up to meet anyone across the miles.

The fee for the six-week course is $300 US currency, (non-refundable due to course limits, serious inquiries only), payable through PayPal. The spots are limited due to the very intimate work and close personal attention offered.

For more information, please email: or call (337) 962-5886

On the Horizon

I have been using the word “calendaring” all week. Lots of exciting things on the horizon. “Writing Hope” with Acadiana Outreach clients. A new schedule of interesting interviews that will appear at MockingHeart Review. Association of Writers & Writing Programs in February where Yellow Flag Press will launch Seek the Holy Dark at an off-site reading with Gigantic Sequins and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s creative writers at George Washington University’s Art and Textile Museum. The Lafayette Book Release event/party at Rêve Coffee Roasters for Seek the Holy Dark (FREE WINE) in mid-March. Readings in Acadiana and beyond. NOLA poetry reading for the Poetry Buffet in June, and more. I’m also available to conduct community creativity/writing workshops and one-on-one mentorships.

“The Hanging Woman” excerpt from “Seek the Holy Dark”

The Hanging Woman


breathes desert into her throat

rapacious sun
spear opens rib

the most egregious of transgressions
lust inside/out

lungs vigilant flag
serpentine intestine

nailed-out muscles
Heaven’s jaw shuts

borne upon the cross
we cannot willfully die

the women tear at their smocks
sun goes

to terminal moonrise
burnt to bone

new meanings of the body impaled;

all sensation thrust
from pleasured skin

blade to stone
stone to bone

bone to blood night
incarnated, excarnated.



© 2017 Clare L. Martin

Collected in Seek the Holy Dark by Clare L. Martin, forthcoming from Yellow Flag Press, 2017 Pre-orders are now available. $10.

New Poems in Nixes Mate Review

Very happy to announce my first publications of 2017 in Issue 2 of Nixes Mate Review. I have two poems, “Harvest” and “Seduction” featured. I’m in great company with Howie Good, Pris Campbell, Gloria Mindock, Corey Mesler and other notable writers. Great thanks to editors Philip Borenstein, Annie Pluto, and Michael McInnis for their terrific work on this new and very fine publication and press.

Pre-order “Seek the Holy Dark”


Seek the Holy Dark is now available for pre-order. Trade paperback, 66 pages, only $10. Pre-orders will ship in early February. To order click here.

Any new book of poems worth its salt must reinvent the intelligences of poetry: trope, word, image, argument, sentence, strophe, music. The poems in Clare Martin’s Seek the Holy Dark will keep. They are salt.

~Darrell Bourque, Former Louisiana Poet Laureate, author of Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie and Where I Waited


From the holy dark of horror storms and freedom in the hand, to starving wolves and old women who live in woods, Clare Martin’s poetic imagery seeks in myth to locate depth of soul. She incants salvation “bone by bone” up from the shadows. Her writing has a beautiful fury, a hard questing and secret exultation that keep the reader poised and intoxicated. “Do you seek the heart too” the opening poem asks, and of course, we answer Yes and read breathlessly on. These poems “drop through this world/into dark awakening.” The strong-hearted will understand.

~Rachel Dacus, author of Gods of Water and Air


Seek the Holy Dark is a book of revelations in poems.  Clare L. Martin sees the richness and the poverty that are bedmates, proffers them as gifts, lays them at our feet.  Her poems suggest we join in the quest to be both humbled and exalted. Martin, who never looks away, fully understands the duality of nature, its light and darkness, exploring both in this lush and lyrical new collection.

~Susan Tepper, author of dear Petrov and The Merrill Diaries


Seek the Holy Dark is the 2017 selection of the Louisiana Series of Cajun and Creole Poetry by Yellow Flag Press.