2012: A Year in the Writing Life

There was a time when I could not write. There was a time when I was very sick and did not have a grip on life. So now that I am stronger and healthier, I feel I absolutely must do it. I must do it for my survival. I must write to discover meaning, to know myself more deeply and to contribute something beautiful to the world. It is a responsibility and I honor it with my best. I live this commitment because the ability and time to do it is not promised.

My life is somewhat illuminated now, but darkness is ever-present. I have to keep striking at the dark with my best energies and efforts. I hold firm to the belief that “Each success, no matter how small, in practice of what I love is a lightning strike against the dark.”

I hope you take that statement into your heart and live it for yourself.

The Writing Life 2012:

Debut full-length poetry collection, Eating the Heart First, published October 1, 2012 by Press 53 as a Tom Lombardo Selection.

Activities

Founded the Voices Seasonal Readings Series

Presented “Vision and Voice: Introducing Youth to Poem-Making” to middle and elementary gifted and talented students—April, 2012, Zachary, LA

Coordinated Words of Fire, Words of Water, the literary component of the Fire and Water Rural Arts Celebration in Arnaudville, LA

Presenter and participant, Acadiana Worldlab, Cite des Arts, Lafayette

Recognitions

“Any Winter Sunday in Louisiana” nominated by Referential Magazine for a Pushcart Prize

“What Winter Told Me” nominated by Thrush Poetry Journal for inclusion in the Poetry Daily online anthology

“The Bird in My Ribcage” and “As We Are” were selections for “Vision/Verse #4” ekphrastic arts project by the Arts & Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana. (June 2012)

Publications

9 submission packets sent out. 26 poems rejected.
14 Poems published:

“Of the Gone Woman” Unlikely Stories
“Because We Love” Unlikely Stories
“Dream of Sudden Water” Unlikely Stories
“The Disease is at Home in Her” Melusine, Spring/Summer
“The Embalmer’s Wife” Melusine, Spring/Summer
“Seeing Through” blue five notebook, Spring
“Ink on a Mirror” Louisiana Literature, 29.1
“Convergence” Louisiana Literature, 29.1
“Distortion” Unlikely Stories, Spring
“The Word Does Not Come” Unlikely Stories Spring
“Poem to the Madonna” Unlikely Stories, Spring
“The Oak Remembered from My Childhood” Referential Magazine, Winter
“Any Winter Sunday in Louisiana” Referential Magazine, Winter
“What Winter Told Me” Thrush Poetry Journal, January 2012

Readings

“Words of Fire Words of Water” Fire and Water Rural Arts Celebration, Arnaudville (December)

First Friday Reading Series, Lake Charles (November)

17 Poets! Reading Series, New Orleans (November)

Sundays@4, Baton Rouge Gallery – center for contemporary arts (November)

Voices Seasonal Reading Series, Lafayette (November)

DAF Grants Recipient Ceremony, Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette (October)

100 Thousand Poets for Change, Cite des Arts (September)

Vision/Verse #4, project by the Arts & Humanities Council of SWLA, Lake Charles (June)

Festival of Words reading series at Casa Azul Gifts, Grand Coteau (April)

“Voices in Winter” with Patrice Melnick, Carpe Diem! Lafayette (February)

Media

Interview/feature article, “Eat Your Heart Out” The Independent Monthly (November)

Interview/live reading on KRVS (88.7 FM–www.krvs.org) Après
Midi with host Judith Meriwether. (November)

A lovely gift to give yourself and those you love…

My debut collection of poetry, Eating the Heart First, published by Press 53 as a Tom Lombardo selection, is now available.

Click on the image to purchase directly from Press 53′s web site.

Also available on Amazon (may not arrive before Christmas)

For more information, or to purchase a signed copy, contact me via the email address below:

Clare L. Martin: martin.clarel@gmail.com

THANK YOU

Praise for Eating the Heart First

“Clare L. Martin is a fine young poet whose work is dark and lovely and full of a deep organic pulse. 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.”

— Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Queen of America
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“In her first collection, Martin deals with many common themes – motherhood, death, nature – but does so with an unsettling grace. There is an honesty and an understated tone that give each piece the right mix of tension and release. Many of the poems are exceptionally well wrought, describing loss and hope, anger and want. The most powerful piece in the collection has to be “Bread Making.” The seething anger, mixed with a dash of christian mythos, combined with flour, and sweat, all bake together into the perfect loaf.

Although described as a Louisiana poet, Martin will appeal to readers way beyond the dankness of the bayou.”

R L Raymond  rlraymond.blogspot.com
Blog about the writing and poetry of R L Raymond
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“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. In one of the late poems a crow in a dream asks, ‘Let me be a whorl of darkness— / Let me be a fist in the sun.’ All of the poems in this collection have the impact of that crow’s call and of the trope it creates. Gradually the poems reveal richly textured revelations of a heart tied to human experience in that ‘dream we cannot know completely.’ And, while we may not ever know the dream completely, Ms. Martin hands us a guidebook to dreams and to the art that uses dream and dreaming as the scaffolding from which to make something beautiful, and useful, and mysterious all at the same time.”

— Darrell Bourque, former Poet Laureate of Louisiana and author of In Ordinary Light, New and Selected Poems

Today!

I will be reading today at Carpe Diem! Gelato – Espresso Bar at 812 Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette, LA at 2 pm. I will be reading from the new collection, Eating the Heart First, and selling and signing books. I hope you can make it if you are local. Very excited for this reading in my hometown!

 

We Write

There was a time when I could not put words together in any meaningful way. There was a time when clarity, sanity even, eluded me. I could not fathom my place in the world. I could not meet my own path. I was shell-shocked by traumas and heartbreaks. My very own mind betrayed me.

I have found my way again, thankfully. I have outlived a self-accepted shame which held me back, which kept me locked in inaction and fear. Gratefully and purposefully, I have pushed through and made something I dreamed of real.

I go deeper into life; I go inward to my own heartspace and learn. I go outward; train my eye and ear to the world, take in the hoof beats of thunder, the wild sun rising through the loam of night—

Writing is my calling and passion.  Writing has saved my life.

To write you need comprehension of a language, certain instruments to write with, the will to do the work, the curiosity to investigate what is below the surface–time. Believe you have something meaningful to say and go forth. Your skill will improve and you will perpetuate a habit.

I always begin with an old-fashioned “free-write.” I compose mainly on the computer in a Word document.  This is my method and practice. I do keep journals close to capture fleeting thoughts, but rarely if ever do I write out a poem in long-hand.

Below is a handy collection of wisdom that I often share with students that I have had the privilege to instruct in creative writing workshops. Feel free to utilize its advice but please credit me for thinking and compiling these thoughts.

WE WRITE

Writers write.  Writers read.

Fall in love with words.
Vision—it takes courage to see.
Face the blank page or screen.

Don’t wait for inspiration.

Practice and play. Make mistakes.
Observe. Pay attention to life.
Experiment with language.
Write to express, but even more–write to see and make others see.

See, hear, taste, touch, smell—discover and know.

Bring the reader into the world of your poem with concrete images.
Dream journal –peer into other worlds, seek out unconscious connections.
Write your responses and impressions of poems you like.
Free write to music. Free write to static.

Write “in your head” then write it down.
Fight for freedom on the page.
Keep a journal.
Cultivate the desire to write.
Get out of bed to write if an idea strikes you.
Write what you need to write.
Say what you need to say.

Listen for your voice. Befriend it and trust it. 
Uncover the processes of your psyche.
Aim for tension in the words.
Write from the depths of your experience—the writing itself will deepen experience.
Free write and then control the words with form.
Strive for a precision of language.
Nurture your discipline.

Do not punish yourself.

Give it time.

Breathe.

FIGHT FOR EVERY WORD.

© 2012 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,

Clare

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“Eating the Heart First” Now Available for Pre-Order

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,

Clare

A Poet’s Place

I have a listing in the Directory of Writers through Poet’s & Writer’s!

Clare L. Martin

I will be updating my listing with info on upcoming readings, which I am setting up now in anticipation of the book’s release.  (Eating the Heart First, my debut collection of poetry, is forthcoming Fall 2012 from Press 53 as a Tom Lombardo Selection)

Two Poems in Melusine: or Woman in the 21st Century

My poems “The Disease is at Home in Her” and “The Embalmer’s Wife” appear in the just-published issue 4.1 of Melusine: or Woman in the 21st Century. I am thrilled these poems have been presented to the world through Melusine.  

Don’t tell my other poems, but “The Embalmer’s Wife” is a personal favorite. I am grateful to editor Janelle Elyse Kihlstrom for selecting these poems for inclusion in her fine journal. Please enjoy the entire issue. There are so many brilliant works within it!    

Thanks for the read.

~Clare