Tag Archives: collage

“you drift over enormous buildings”

Photo: Camille Martin

Photo: Camille Martin


from “Woman with Dust in Black Box”


you drift over enormous buildings and meander
into your office logon i.d.   alien mardi gras’
and pre-cambrian love letters practice their singspeil
on rickety ladders until they fade into the clock
above the door.   wrong time.    whatever embarrasses
blackboards is truly yours, but they will make you tinker
with the inner workings of grammar you do not
possess by using, not buddhistical chalk dust, but
superhuman reflexes and angle rotations.



Camille Martin

unarmed to the hilt


The latest in unarmed gear, featuring one of my collages on the cover:
unarmed #60

unarmed #60

unarmed is a gem of a zine with loyal fans in Minneapolis/St. Paul and beyond. It follows in the venerable footsteps of independent poetry zines of the 60s, often just mimeographed and stapled, such as Ted Berrigan’s C Magazine, Ed Sanders’ Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts, Anne Waldman and Waldman and Lewis Warsh’s Angel Hair Magazine, and a host of others since that explosion of small presses.

How many old school print poetry zines are still out there that haven’t converted to pixels? More than you might think, but not as many as before the advent of the internet.

unarmed makes reading poetry at the bus stop sexy.



Samples from unarmed:

Joel Dailey unarmed

Joel Dailey


Sheila Murphy

Sheila Murphy



Camille Martin

Camille Martin’s Upcoming Events

Some upcoming events featuring my poetry and art:

Square Foot Show (Toronto)
Three of my collage prints will be exhibited.
100A Ossington Avenue, Toronto
(a few blocks north of AWOL Gallery)
Show dates: Saturday, August 15, – September 6, 2009
Artists Reception: Saturday, August 15, 2009, 7 pm
Gallery Hours: Th – Sa 12-6 pm / Su 1-5 pm

Rainbow Market Square Gallery (Toronto)
Sublime Scraps: The Collage Prints of Camille Martin
Ten of my collage prints will be exhibited.
80 Front Street East between Church and Jarvis
April 1 – April 30, 2010

Publication of Sonnets by Shearsman Books
Late 2009 or early 2010. Stay tuned for book launch information and tour dates. Sonnets will be distributed in Canada, the UK, and the US.

Shearsman Books Reading Series
UK Sonnets launch: early May 2010 (Click here)
Swedenborg Hall, Swedenborg House
20/21 Bloomsbury Way, London, England

Camille Martin

A False Start: T. S. Eliot, Snoopy, and the Art of the Artist’s Statement

Do I dare to eat a peach? Does starting a blog count as eating a peach?

The third question of the false start: for poets who also practice some other kind of art, what is the relationship between the poetry and the other discipline? In the case of my poetry and collage, are the two in dialogue? I pondered this issue as I struggled to write a meaningful statement about my collages in preparation to contact galleries about a possible exhibition. I thought it relevant to mention my work as a poet, and found myself also making connections about my readings in cognitive science. Here is what I came up with:

* * * * * * *

Artist’s Statement: Camille Martin

I am both a collage artist and a poet. The two media are not mutually exclusive; they inform one another. My approaches to language and images are closely related: I gather materials (in the case of poetry, words or phrases; in the case of collages, backgrounds and cut-out images) and try different combinations until something larger than the juxtaposed elements emerges. After creating the collages, I digitally scan them and create enlarged archival prints on fine art paper mounted on white dibond.

The startling juxtaposition of images is key to my work. Lautreamont, a nineteenth-century writer, described beauty as “the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissection table.” That statement, which became a sort of anthem for surrealists, speaks to me of the mysterious charm that ensues from the dialogue among the images that I marry with scissors and glue. The images might start telling a narrative, or their meaning might remain mysterious and absurd.

One thing that we humans do best is to fill in the gaps of seemingly illogical juxtapositions: to “confabulate,” to tell stories in order to explain. Confronted with oddness, the mind rushes to fill the aporia between the unlike images, like water rushing to fill a depression in the earth: a snake levitates in the air, lifting with it a marble staircase; a mountain breaks apart to reveal to a climbing statue a secret city with buildings adorned with feathers; a broken puppet falls from the sky like Icarus; a naked mole rat watches enviously as two mating turtles fly across the night sky. The gaps that we fill with narratives are openings for the creation of our very selves, which is unending.

It is equally possible, confronted with the illogical, to allow the strange gaps to remain a mystery and to experience what the poet John Keats called “negative capability”: the capacity to allow the presence of uncertainties without trying to rationalize them, to allow “mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” The snake carries the staircase: that reality can exist in its own world, resistant to the attempt of any brain to reason with the oddness of it.

It’s important for me as an artist to allow both possibilities: interpretation and mystery; narrative and an irrationality that resists narrative. The interplay of these two possibilities constitutes for me the richness and playfulness of my work. There is magic and meaning—and poetry—in both states.

* * * * * * *

I recently sent a portfolio to the Women’s Art Resources Centre in Toronto in order to get a critique from a knowledgable artist and curator. I am still basking in her assessment, which was very positive in regards to the art (she writes that she is “impressed with the quality of the execution and the composition of the collage work” – woo-hoo!). Her main suggestion had to do with my artist’s statement: to situate my collages in a more contemporary context in order to place my work in the stream of a more recent tradition. Excellent advice.

Sage advice also from Snoopy, who responded to sourpuss Lucy’s refusal to dance the day away: “Four hundred years from now, who’ll know the difference?” That’s as good a response to Eliot’s weary despair as I’ve ever heard.
. . . . . .

I record here my website address, in what is probably a useless attempt to get Google to index it:


Camille Martin