February Events

Clare reading.

Upcoming Events, Readings and Book-Signings

We Wanted to Be Writers excerpted ten poems from the collection if you would like to read samples of my work. Here is the direct link: http://wewantedtobewriters.com/2014/01/excerpt-from-clare-martins-poetry-collection/


“Acting Unlimited Pop-Up Poetry Theatre”
6:15 pm to 7:15 pm, at the Second Saturday Art Walk
(by the statue of General Mouton across from Theater 810, Downtown Lafayette, LA)
Featured poets will be:
Darrell Bourque
James Blanchard
James McDowell (a.k.a. J.K. McDowell)
J Bruce Fuller
Carol Rice
Clare L. Martin

A&E Poetry Night 
Friday, February 14th, 2014
6 pm – til
Bonny McDonald and Clare L. Martin
hosted by Margaret Gibson Simon
A&E Gallery
335 W St Peter St, New Iberia, LA 70560

Voices Seasonal Reading Series:

Wednesday, February 19th at 7 pm the winter installment of the Voice Seasonal Reading Series will feature a special evening of literary readings by poets Clare L. Martin and Diane Moore at Carpe Diem! Gelato – Espresso Bar. 812 Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette, LA. The public is invited to enjoy gelato, espresso, tea, and pastries while experiencing a unique and enlightening literary event. The event also celebrates the two-year anniversary of this highly successful reading series in Lafayette.

AWP Conference Events, Seattle Washington

MadHat Annual (formerly Mad Hatters’ Review) and the Plume Anthology of Poetry 2013 present:
Friday, February 28th, 2014 @ 6 pm to 9 pm
Tap House Grill, 6th Avenue, Seattle, WA

Robin Behn
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Jim Daniels
Mark Irwin
Katia Kapovich
Amy King
Clare L. Martin
Philip Nikolayev
Nava Renek
David Rivard
Jill Rosser
Bernd Sauermann
Tod Thilleman
Yuriy Tarnawsky
Rosanna Warren

and appearances by your hosts, Marc Vincenz, Jonathan Penton, and Daniel Lawless

Thursday, February 27th and Friday, February 28th from 3-4 pm (both days) at the Press 53 Table for the AWP Bookfair. Tables CC 35-36 (Press 53/Prime Number) Copies of Eating the Heart First will be available at the Press 53 table in limited quantity. If you would like to purchase the book ahead of time for me to sign, you can find online ordering info here: https://clarelmartin.com/buy-eating-the-heart-first/

More dates TBA

*Additional dates are being arranged now. To book Clare for a poetry reading or book-signing, please email martin.clarel@gmail.com or call (337) 962-5886

Feed your head!

MadHat Annual, Issue 15 “Eye On the World” features relevant, lucid, and provocative poetry*, fiction, drama, multimedia, audio, and visual art by artists from all over the planet.

To the brilliant artists whose contributions have made “Eye on the World” such an incredible offering, THANK YOU.

Be sure to view/experience the special video collaboration, “Refuge,” by our late founder, Carol Novack, and artist Jean Detheux.


*I’m particularly proud of the Poetry section, which was curated by Executive Editor, Marc Vincenz, Outgoing Managing Editor, Susan Lewis, and me–newbie Poetry Editor. Over 50 phenomenal poets are featured! (And I have a few poems in there as well).


The Writing Life –2013

Each December, since I began The Writing Life in 2004, I have compiled a year-end list of happenings and achievements.  Here’s what I can remember, with the help of calendars and emails, of 2013. These are just bullet points, really. The work involved kept me extremely busy. And most importantly, I have continued the real work of writing, achieving stylistic breakthroughs that are infusing my new work. I continue to follow the words.

What a year! I have left burnt rubber behind me.

New and Continuing Activities
NEW! Editor, MadHat Lit
NEW! Poetry Editor, MadHat Annual
NEW! Co-coordinator, Acadiana Wordlab

Founder, Director Voices Seasonal Readings Series at Carpe Diem, 2012-present
Teaching Artist, Acadiana Center for the Arts, 2011- present
Coordinator, Words of Fire, Words of Water, the literary component of the Fire and Water Rural Arts Celebration in Arnaudville, LA, December 2012- present


“Of Lint,” after LUBA ZYGAREWICZ’s “Petrified Time: 12 Years of My Life, Folded and Neatly Stacked,” sculpture/stacked dryer lint, tags and rope, Louisiana Aesthetic

“Naked” Verse Daily February 9th

“4 Signs Your Heart is Quietly Failing” Technoculture (text and audio)

“The Bird in My Ribcage” Swamp Lily (reprint)

As We Are” and “The Bird in My Ribcage” Vision/Verse Anthology

Four poems featured on former Poet Laureate of Louisiana, Darrell Bourque’s radio program “From the Poet’s Bookshelf” which airs on KRVS www.krvs.org

Public Readings

Rosa Keller Library, New Orleans, Louisiana

Voices Seasonal Reading Series, Lafayette, LA

Café Mosaic, LSU-E Reading Series, Eunice, LA

Midwinter Poetry Night, A & E Gallery, New Iberia, LA

Festival of Words Reading Series, Grand Coteau, LA

Asheville Word Fest, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Asheville, NC

Le Mot, Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette, LA

River Writers Reading Series, Baton Rouge, LA

Words of Fire/Words of Water, Arnaudville, LA

Blood Jet Poetry Series, New Orleans, Louisiana


Presented “A World of Words: Express Yourself!” to 9th – 12th Graders at Northside High School

Interviewed for “The Extra Mile” on Acadiana Open Channel

Report from the Front-line (Acadiana Wordlab 8-31-13)

On Saturday, August 31st, I presented a workshop at Acadiana Wordlab, which is a literary drafting workshop directed by poet Jonathan Penton, Editor in Chief of Unlikely Stories. This was the second time I was a presenter and I was very excited for the opportunity. When planning the presentation, I wanted to aim for the “heart of the matter” and present something “meaty” and challenging to the writers that would be conducive to creative breakthrough. Apparently that was the right thing to do, because as evidenced by the examples of raw writing produced by participants, some brave, necessary, and inspired writing occurred.

I am sharing the prompts that I presented to the group and also the poem with which I began the presentation. The poem, “What We Carry” struck me as a good example to use as a prompt, as the lines could be interpreted individually since it is an “image list,” and because, as I said at Wordlab, everything we carry, even the smallest thing, has weight.

The seriousness of the business we are in was apparent by the tone of many of the pieces. I was struck by the imaginativeness and near creative ferociousness of much of the writing. I asked participants to relinquish their burdens to the page. That is not an easy thing to do and I don’t know how deep our writers went, but I was struck by how brave everyone was and by the level of trust which has deepened among many regular attendants of Wordlab.

Through the process of creative experiment/ group writing the participants made the active choice to begin new artifices. I believe we are ultimately transformed on a multiplicity of levels in striking and valuable ways through this process, and for this reason I am grateful to be an Acadiana Wordlab participant, and occasional presenter.

More information on Acadiana Wordlab, its meeting schedule and opportunities to be a participant or presenter can be found here: http://unlikelystories.org/acadiana_wordlab/

Thanks to Jonathan and all of the participants for your trust and courage.

I am sharing this poem and the prompts as an educational offering. If you choose to use them for yourself, have fun. If you choose to present them to a class, please credit me. If you would like me to present a workshop to a group, I can be contacted at martin.clarel@gmail.com


broken bottles
and rusted things

gasoline-soaked rags
a knife wet with blood

the tail feather
of a rooster

sewing needles
a burnt match

a fistful of sins

the stain of roses
a storm of horses

letters from the dead

all in solemnity
all in solemnity

embodied in the sunken hull—
itself, an ocean

Clare L. Martin


What do the dead speak? What murmurs under water, or sputters from a mouth full of dirt? What name is on their lips? What resonance in their bones permeates our conscious living? I am the dead. I am in them. I dream their lilting, cold bodies, the slack musculature, and the worm-heaven of their putrefied skulls. Sing to me of the dead, their wishes and their folly. Sing to me their misery and what is seen through their maimed glares. The dead linger here and we must hear them. The dead have something to say. What is it?


Recall one object/thing in your bedroom. It could be a memento, a gift, something you mean to discard but have not, even the covering of dust on the furniture. Describe it in detail. Describe it with love or hate. What is its significance or insignificance to you? What will you do with/to it in the future?


Write a letter to a part of your body. It could be a love letter, a Dear John, an apology, or a revelation of a secret.


You are given a magic seed. The seed can grow into anything—what is this seed and what will it become? How will you cultivate it? Does this seed change your existence?


Imagine a mist. Imagine it clouding your sight, leaving your skin wet, filling your lungs. Something emerges from the mist. What is it? What does it mean to you?


Before your death, before your last breath, you are given one wish. What is this wish? You may or may not choose to write what this wish is. Consider the implications of your death and the lasting effect of your wish.


Write about something that you wish to forget. Explore the emotions of the experience and why you want to forget this experience so desperately. End your piece with one sentence stating one thing you desperately need/want to remember.

Clare L. Martin

Wonderful news!

I am exhilarated this morning by the wonderful news of this review written by Blood Lotus: An Online Literary Journal editor, Stacia Fleegal, of my debut poetry collection, Eating the Heart First.  I am so grateful for these words. I read the review over the phone to my mother and she just said, “Wow. That is mind-blowing.”

Even if I don’t sell a million copies, I have experienced, and continue to experience, great joy and pleasure from the response of so many readers. Stacia takes great care in her reading and her words are considered, inspired, and gracious.

Please read her review, and if you are so moved, buy a copy of the book, available from Press 53 for your summer reading.

Thank you!   


4/25/13 “Eating the Heart First Day” on Amazon!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThursday, April 25th, we celebrate “Eating the Heart First Day” on Amazon! Go to Amazon.com, and put “Eating the Heart First” in the search bar or click here.  Buy a copy for yourself or a friend, or two for both of you. We want to make a great showing; but more importantly, we want to share this book that we sincerely believe in. Thank you!!

These keen, visceral and haunting poems were written for human beings. Their creator, Clare L. Martin, has expressed deeply-felt and deeply-known human experiences through them. We want you to read Eating the Heart First because it was written for you. The sample poem, “Naked,” at the bottom of this post is the opening poem of the collection.

Just the title of this collection, Eating the Heart First, gives the reader a hint of what can be found within its pages: darkly powerful poems about love, dreams, and the swamps of Martin’s native Louisiana. These poems will undoubtedly leave a lasting mark on the reader.

Eating the Heart First was published October 2012 by Press 53. Poems from this collection have appeared in Avatar Review, Blue Fifth Review, Literary Mama, Louisiana Literature, and more. Martin’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web, Best New Poets, and Sundress Publication’s Best of the Net.

“Clare L. Martin is a fine young poet whose work is dark and lovely and full of a deep organic pulse,” says Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Queen of America. “Like the landscape of her beloved Louisiana, her work is alive with mystery. You could swim in this hot water, but there are things down inside its darkness that might pull you away forever. It is an exquisite drowning.”

More praise comes from Darrell Bourque, former Poet Laureate of Louisiana and author of In Ordinary Light, New and Selected Poems and Megan’s Guitar And Other Poems from Acadie, who says, “Clare L. Martin pulls off an impressive balancing act in her debut book of poems, Eating the Heart First. In this collection, divided into three sections, she manages trust of her intuitive powers while she tats her findings onto poems built with technical expertise. She is a believer of dreams, and the whole of the work can be read as an oneiric treatise guided by the powers she believes in: the power of memory, the power of water, the power of moons, the powers of longing, and the power of love.”

Clare is a lifelong resident of Louisiana, a graduate of University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a member of the Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective and a Teaching Artist through the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Martin founded and directs the Voices Seasonal Reading Series in Lafayette, LA, which features new and established Louisiana and regional writers.

Eating the Heart First
Poetry by Clare L. Martin
Publication date: October 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-935708-66-7
Size: 8.5 x 5.5 inches, 90 pages
Price: US $12.95


I am the woman
naked before the mirror.
I am the haunted woman
wincing at self-recognition.

I know this muscle that beats
hard in my chest
is calloused,
and grows stranger
as I know it.

I slave in the garden,
lopping mad roses,
shredding their iron tongues—
At midnight I soak
my bridal veil with gasoline
and set it afire. I dance around,
around and curse you ceremoniously.

I do not reach for you in sleep.
I keep my dream secret.
What remains is sexless, loveless.
I cannot give you what I do not have.

In a morning tryst,
my lover tells me fables of skin
and I crave you—

Clare L. Martin, Eating the Heart First (Press 53, 2012)