I am a native of Louisiana. I have lived here all my life. I am entranced by its diversity of landscapes and natural beauty. Many of my poems use nature as a metaphor or a sensory starting point.
I want to say a little something about my writing life. I was a teenage mom. My son was born three months premature. At fifteen, this was an unbelievably traumatic experience. My son was severely disabled. We loved and cared for him for 19 years, until his death in 2004. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I was not fully focused on it until Adam’s death. In his memory, I began furiously writing poems. training myself by writing, making mistakes, and revising poems to a fine finish. I have two collections of poetry now. Eating the Heart First (Press 53, 2012) in which “Any Winter Sunday in Louisiana” is collected, and Seek the Holy Dark, which came out this year from Yellow Flag Press.
I read quite a bit of contemporary poetry as editor of MockingHeart Review, and for pleasure and instruction. I trace my lineage to poets that I sought out feverishly over the years. A few of them are Sharon Olds, Margaret Atwood, Anne Sexton, James Dickey, Sylvia Plath, Gerard Manly Hopkins, Rainier Maria Rilke, and Wallace Stevens–icons who I adore.
“Any Winter Sunday in Louisiana” came to me from the many memories of making gumbo, car rides through coastal parishes, sights of burning sugar cane, knowledge of our fauna. This poem’s subject is a mythical woman who takes on the glory of all things Louisiana. She grows beyond the sensual woman into a symbol of the state itself, natural, exotic, erotic, palpable beauty. I hope you enjoy it and allow the words into your heart.
Come to Louisiana someday and you will get a sense of what generated this poem.
Clare L. Martin’s second collection of poetry, Seek the Holy Dark, is the 2017 selection of the Louisiana Cajun and Creole Series by Yellow Flag Press. Her acclaimed debut collection of poetry, Eating the Heart First, was published by Press 53. Martin’s poetry has appeared in Thrush Poetry Journal, Poets and Artists, and Louisiana Literature, among others. She founded and edits MockingHeart Review.
Poet and author, Diane Moore, reviews Seek the Holy Dark, available from Yellow Flag Press. Thank you, Diane, for your deep reading and generosity of heart.
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. Trade paperback, 66 pages, only $10. To order click here.
Listen to the podcast with Judith Meriwether interviewing me about Seek the Holy Dark by Clare L Martin. It’s the second one listed on this page. Thanks to KRVS! Always doing great things for our community.
Susan Tepper interviewed me about Seek the Holy Dark. I hope you will take a couple of minutes to read the interview and also check out the book if you are so inclined. Seek the Holy Dark is the 2017 selection for the Louisiana Series of Cajun and Creole Poets by Yellow Flag Press.
Last night, after art-making, tea-drinking, candle-gazing, and family-loving, I went to bed un-sleepy to pray.
Knowing the night was long, dark, evoking all that darkness does, I prayed for resolution in hearts and minds of things that brew in darkness.
We are here again, in light, breathing light itself. Turn your sight to suns even if they are obscured by ominous portents. And in night, let stars fill you–
Know the Light of All to illuminate your souls.
“Woman Atop the Mountain” by Clare L. Martin
Pen and crayon on paper. Digitized, filtered. 2016.