Click here or the image below to read the interview at the Stated website:
Click here or the image below to read the interview at the Stated website:
After readings in Cobourg, Vancouver, Montreal, Detroit, Columbus, and Lafayette to celebrate the publication of LOOMS, I’m bringin’ it home to Toronto at the ART BAR on Thursday, April 9. My superb co-readers are playwright and poet Adam Seelig (EVERY DAY IN THE MORNING (SLOW)) and poet Jim Johnstone (PATTERNICITY)!
where the old road curls into pale blue sky
where rock and pine distill a blurred horizon
backs bend and are divided into valleys
glorified in a field of flags
the Tyrant marches in tight ranks
spells out MOTHER, DIGNITY, FORCE
the story goes like this:
only a hungry ear, a mouth
law speaks in quivers, whips
line by line months break
(here is no child’s game)
incessant in smiles the Tyrant governs
a fist of furrows, knobbed, arthritic
—No peasants, no sepulchres, no bones. A tower, open-mouthed, with no one above its crater.
—No soil that speaks of living, no deity that trains the dying.
—Ruins of a luxury hotel wither two hundred years in the fields. Such is a hospitality of vestiges. Such is finesse. The lastingness.
—Fearful of fevers, no one enters.
—In such peasantless fields, wounds gape uninhabited.
To order Looms:
Excerpts from reviews:
Looms is a wonderful continuation of Martin’s previous collection, Sonnets, in which she explored similar themes as well as playing with the sonnet form. Martin has proven herself to be a solid poet with an ear for language and an inquisitive mind, delving into the big questions we all face. In this collection, Martin has woven a rich tapestry of poems that are well worth perusing.
—Cort Bledsoe for Bookslut
There is such an expansiveness to Martin’s Looms. The poems exist in that magical place where words, images and ideas collide, creating connections that previously had never been.
[Looms] has a very painterly, noir feel, alienated and penumbral, taut yet expansive. Impressive and addictive.
—Steve Spence for Stride Magazine
A deserted city. We’ll have to imagine
it’s in a movie. Beneath a listless dome, walls
crumble into backlit dust. Flames on a hillside swarm,
tattered auburn fishes in the autumn wind. Glints of dying
light fall on unmoored mountains whose thoughts of home
come to nothing. Everywhere, flocks of matter dip pale snouts
into inky ponds. We’ll have to imagine someone watching
that movie. No one left to forget irrelevant seeds. Some left off
praying to the mother of a tarnished idol presiding over a flock
of angels, breath attended by golden lice. Others
paused long enough to view dusk’s leisurely descent
over the white noise of crashing surf. All found something
to swear by before it was too late. Photogenic dullards jazzed
in the waning light. A ship’s captain jingled his coins
before staving in the ship. Embers in a hearth
illuminated fish bones on plates.
Sonnets and Looms are available from the following vendors:
From a helicopter at night, an aerial
view of a city. In the dark, gigantic
iron statues loom with an ominous
aura of permanence. The people
who live in the city obsess
about the possibility of doomsday
erupting among their soaring
buildings and effigies. Of the end
they’ve made a fetish, chatting
about it at cocktail parties as if
it were the latest vogue. They believe
that it could happen at any moment,
so they no longer bother
to make their beds in the morning.
Martha Nichols, one of the editors, recently approached me about writing an illustrated essay about what it’s like to work in three disciplines: poetry, collage, and music.
I invite you to have a look at the resulting featured spread in Talking Writing and to explore the rest of the issue, which will be added to during the next few weeks.
Click the image below to view my collages and essay:
In his review, rob generously included a couple of poems from the book. If you’d like to read more from Looms, you can order a copy at the following vendors (click to link):
Poet James Pickersgill put together some thought-provoking interview questions in advance of the reading. Below is a sample, and the complete interview can be found here.
Q – Camille, it is not at all true that poetry is your single creative outlet. You are known as a collage artist, too. You are an editor yourself … and a translator. Your own work has been translated into other languages as well. You have been a university teacher. You’ve organized poetry reading series. You’ve had radio shows and you blog actively on the internet. When listed like that, these activities might sound like an array of separate pigeon-holes but I suspect that there is a lot of cross-pollination, so to speak. What is the nature of this creativity as you experience it: one spark that finds many openings to jump into flame, or, can it be distinct and separate creative impetuses?
Camille Martin – I love the idea of cross-pollination. In fact, I think my primary creative impulse is to bring together: to merge or to juxtapose. It’s the basic impetus for the metaphor: to bring unlike things into dialogue. And for me, that goes for disciplines as well. I was reading and seeking out poetry on my own from an early age, though I didn’t begin writing it in earnest until my late 30s. But my first creative expression was musical – I was trained as a classical pianist since I was six years old, and I went on to get a graduate degree in piano performance. I was also intensely interested in visual art. I’ve always felt a desire to bring the arts together. So now, in the autumn of my life, I have the pleasure of doing all three: making collages, writing poetry, and setting my poetry to music. I think these disciplines are sparking conversations among each another.
Poetry. The title of LOOMS signifies the weaving tool as well as the shadowing appearance of something. These “woven tales” were inspired by Barbara Guest’s statement that a tale “doesn’t tell the truth about itself; it tells us what it dreams about.” The strands of their surreal allegories converse, one idea giving rise to another, and the paths of their dialogue become the fabric of the narrative. In a second meaning, something that looms remains in a state of imminent arrival. Such are these tales, like parables with infinitely deferred lessons.
“In tightly woven tapestry, Martin’s ‘backstreet songs’ re-invent a music of knowledge that navigates the hucksterism and catastrophe threatening our planet. The movement of her threads is fugue-like, punctuated by oboes and clarinets, mockingbirds and cicadas. Here, in the dream-space of time-lapse film, forms of life and ideas collide and morph, rippling through centuries of human consciousness to unravel as quickly as they ravel. Here, above all, Martin makes it possible to dance among our ‘origins in snake oil,’ our ‘crusades to mirages’ and our ‘accidental fictions’.”—Meredith Quartermain
“A dreamscape on the outskirts of town, ‘in the badlands of the vernacular,’ these hopeful, haunted poems populated by children and prisoners ‘hover between’ realms domestic and exterior, real and imagined. Like candles described herein, this book gives off a melting, tactile glow.”—Arielle Greenberg
My box of Looms has arrived, and copies distributed to five Goodreads winners.
Shearsman Books has a pdf sample as well as a handy list of links where you can order the book.
Many thanks to Tony Frazer, publisher extraordinaire of Shearsman Books.
May the poems in Looms bring you pleasure!
Click the image below to enter at Goodreads:
At the bottom of the Shearsman Books page is a convenient clickable list so you can choose your preferred source and compare prices—you may wish to check for pre-order discounts (The Book Depository has one, last time I checked).
Looms is my second title published by Shearsman Books, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it came out. The cover features one of my collages, Blind Man’s Bluff, and the publisher, Tony Frazer, did a beautiful job (as usual) designing and producing the book.
Publisher’s description of Looms:
The title of Looms signifies the weaving tool as well as the shadowing appearance of something. These “woven tales” were inspired by Barbara Guest’s statement that a tale “doesn’t tell the truth about itself; it tells us what it dreams about.” The strands of their surreal allegories converse, one idea giving rise to another, and the paths of their dialogue become the fabric of the narrative. In a second meaning, something that looms remains in a state of imminent arrival. Such are these tales, like parables with infinitely deferred lessons.
Thanks to Amanda Earl, poet and publisher of Angel House Press!
Poets who have published with Shearsman include Mark Scroggins, Maxine Chernoff, Tony Lopez, anne blonstein, Carrie Etter, Joseph Massey, Lisa Samuels, Eileen Tabios, Tom Clark, Anne Gorrick, Michael Heller, and Scott Thurston, to name only a few.
Among Canadian poets, Erin Mouré has published three books of translations of the poetry of Chus Pato for Shearsman.
I’m in fierce company.
Unless predictions of Doomsday 2012 come true, Looms will loom on the horizon in fall 2012.
Meanwhile, please have a look at my newly spruced-up website—it’s leaner and cleaner and easier to navigate:
Enjoy the perusing. Comments welcome!
In other news, I recently completed a new collection of poems, “Looms.” I used the Toronto New School of Writing‘s Manuscript Midwives program and went through intensive and gratifying editing sessions with poet Phil Hall, who has an uncanny ability to figure out what you want to do and help you do it better. I’m excited about this new manuscript, which is getting encouraging feedback from poet friends who’ve read the manuscript and heard my readings from it, most recently at AvantGarden.
And onward to a new poetry manuscript with the working title “Cambrian Blues.”