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

Publications

“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

Etc.

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

Interviewed for “The Extra Mile” on Acadiana Open Channel

FALL EVENTS

Clare reading.

Upcoming Events, Readings and Book-Signings*

Voices Seasonal Reading Series:
Gina Ferrara, Matthew Hardin Hofferek and Carol Rice
(event hosted by Clare)
November 13th @ 7 pm
Carpe Diem Gelato-Espresso Bar, 812 Jefferson Street, Lafayette, LA

Poetry Reading by Marc Vincenz, Jonathan Penton and Clare L. Martin
Thursday, November 14th @ 7pm
Boudreaux and Thibodeaux’s Baton Rouge, LA

Poetry Reading by Clare L. Martin
November 21st @ 7 pm
Café Mosaic, 202 S. 2nd Street, Eunice, Louisiana

Poetry Readings by Clare L. Martin and Jonathan Penton 
The Blood Jet Poetry Series
November  27th@ 8 pm
BJ’s in the Bywater, 4301 Burgundy, New Orleans, LA

Poetry Reading by Clare L. Martin
December 5th @ 7 pm
Joie de Vivre Café 107 N. Main St., Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

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

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!   

~Clare

Wordfest 2013

My reading as part of the MadHat reading at Wordfest 2013 on Saturday, May 4th, 2013–Asheville, NC

An interview conducted by Jeff Davis for WordPlay on Asheville FM. The interview begins at about the 7 minute mark.

I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to share my words. Thanks to the festival organizers and backers, MadHat, Inc., and to WordPlay host Jeff Davis for everything. Special thanks to Unlikely Stories publisher, Jonathan Penton, for thinking of me and for an amazing experience.

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

NAKED

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)

Acadiana Wordlab (3-2-13)

What I really get out of participating in Acadiana Wordlab is that we are writing raw and uncensored in a group—and that is uncomfortable. I am forced to write outside of my comfort zone and it is scary. We had such an amazing group yesterday. There were nine of us and I led the session. It was kind of a topsy-turvy set up, which I will not elaborate upon, but I was able to focus and we all got to writing. We had great synergy and energy.  It was a rewarding experience and the writing produced that was shared by the group was strong and interesting.  I thank Jonathan Penton for organizing this project. It’s really catching on and people are writing new because of it. That is success.

This poem-in-progress was written from a free-write produced at Acadiana Wordlab yesterday (3-2-13) I do not have a title for it.

Birds fly and drop around us
into trees dressed in smoke.

The air we breathe
is a blade in our lungs.

We run into the lake
to escape a burning death.

What have we lost on a blue
morning illuminated by fire?

We live for a time in the belly
of the sleeping lake.

We raise our children
to speak fish, to know

the name of the mountain
under our feet

worn to an indecipherable
multitude of pebbles.

Louisiana Aesthetic (Reggie Michael Rodrigue) has kindly published a poem I wrote after the Acadiana Wordlab session he led. Thank you, Reggie for your magnanimous words.

louisianaesthetic

LUBA ZYGAREWICZ Petrified Time 12 Years of My Life Folded and Neatly Stacked

LUBA ZYGAREWICZ, “Petrified Time: 12 Years of My Life, Folded and Neatly Stacked,” sculpture/stacked dryer lint, tags and rope

Last month I hosted a meeting of the Acadiana Wordlab thanks to the graciousness of the lab’s founder Jonathan Penton who also publishes the literary journal “Unlikely Stories.” During the lab, I exposed the attendants to a wide variety of my favorite contemporary works by artists from Louisiana and discussed the merits and relevance of them and their works.

It was great pleasure, and I personally got a lot out of the lab due to the quality and variety of ekphrastic responses I received from the attendants. If you’re wondering what an ekphrastic response is, you’re not alone. I had no idea what one was until I hosted the lab.  Once I found out what one is, I felt a little stupid. It’s what I do here all the time –…

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Summer Day, 1984

fishframe

I am pregnant; fifteen years old. I am fishing with my father. The bayou is a darkened mirror. Father stands in the slow-dancing boat and draws back effortlessly to cast the line. Water silvers; streams like snakes. There are snakes, too, black ones that appear plastic and fluid: shadows of water.  There is a faint stream of motor oil—a finger-trace in the water which rings a floating Budweiser can. Cattle egrets in breeding plumage float above the bank. Father pulls in a sun perch. Its iridescent tail fans the light. We cast again, again in silence.

After my son was born my daddy told me he made a wish for me as he rolled his wrist to reach the spot where the mysteries of fish exist:

To not regret, to hold to the promises I make.