CHARLES W. MARTIN, poet of the social conscience

Charles W. Martin, American poet
Charles W. Martin, American poet

Charles W. Martin (Read Between the Minds) …. Charlie …. “slpmartin” … was the first blogger-poet that I started to follow with some regularity.  That was back in February 2010. Charlie had – if memory serves (which it doesn’t always these days) – recently retired and just returned from a trip to Africa – Tunisia, I think – and had shared a few poems about dusty streets and ancient wisdom and social inequities.  At the time he was also sharing poems that had been published in his first book, Read Between the Minds. 

I was struck by two things in Charlie’s poetry: his unremitting concern for social and political issues and his unique style. Charlie wrote about having lost patience with the poetic forms he was taught in school. He developed a spare and direct style that worked for him. As it happens it works well for readers and is perfectly suited to blogging, where brevity is the popular preference.

As time went on, Charlie created and introduced us to the kick-in-the-pants wisdom of Aunt Bea, whom we all came to love.  It wasn’t long before Charlie created two other personalities, each with a distinct voice.

Recently, I read Charlie’s self-published collection: Bea in Your Bonnet, Volume 1, First Sting. As expected, it was pure fun laced with homey wisdom.

Here’s a sample:

word usage…

aunt bea
was reading
the paper
when i stopped by
for a visit
she noted that
there had been
a number of
political leaders
for fraud
to serve
the public need
of these indictments
she said
were unfounded
in her opinion
the word
the person

– Charles W. Martin

Charlie’s backstory:

Charles W. Martin earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology (hence the “slp” in his url) with an emphasis in statistics. His credentials allowed him to pursue a career that included teaching, research and administration in university settings, treating patients and providing administrative leadership in clinical settings.

Charlie worked as a speech pathologist professional in the public schools where he diagnosed and treated communication disorders caused by a wide range of health conditions and contextual factors. Charlie brought passion to each of his professional positions but he was always focused on mentoring his students and improving the quality of life for his clients and patients.

Throughout Charlie’s educational training and career he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). He was a published poet before he completed his graduate work. Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to his poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photography and Random Thoughts of Life.

Charlie's second self-publsihed work
Charlie’s second self-published work

Aunt Bea’s backstory:

Charlie wrote me saying that “Aunt Bea, my mother’s twin sister, represents all six of the aunts, my mother, and grandmother.  Aunt Bea’s voice is one I’ve heard almost every day of my life.  The poems are family observations, lessons, and advice given to me and every other family member who had the good sense to listen.  Her homespun philosophy most likely will not be found in any collegiate textbooks or for that matter in any local town crier newspaper catering to city dwellers.  Indeed, she has a different way of viewing the world – a bit old-fashioned, sassy, and steely at times but a viewpoint which has engaged my imagination and heart.”

Charlie has three books out now including Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting.  They are available through Amazon.  Charlie posts daily to his blog and is also a member of The Bardo Group/Beguine Again core team.

“Poetry has the power to make us aware of what is hidden in the shadows…those places that we seldom see or want to see…the poet’s voice scrapes away the facade of an issue and lays bare for all to see what has been denied. By providing a voice to these mute realities, poets have throughout history altered the course of events by enlightening readers and encouraging them to take action to stop wars, halt injustice, and to reach out to their fellow man. Like those poets who have proceeded me, I am motivated by the same desire to bring about the social changes necessary to enhance the quality of life for those around me and around the world and to give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.” Charles W. Martin

poem and illustrations © Charles W. Martin, used here with permission

One Will Always Have Enough Simple Pleasures: my post today on Beguine Again.


FRIDAY PHOTO FINISH: all flowers keep the light

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), American poet and Pulitzer Prize winner (1954 for The Waking)

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© 2014, photographs, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Hearing Your Words … in memory of Welsh poet, Anne Cluysenaar

For Ruth Bidgood, reading in Aberystwyth

I used, as a child, to imagine my death, or rather
beyond it. A ship setting out, in flames, at dusk,
counteracting the planet’s roll, on the sunrise path
to a waveless far horizon lit from beneath.

This came to mind, just now, clicking on close-up
through the café window – sea meeting that sky,
distantly smooth, arching high, up above
a jumble of chimneys and roofs backlit at sundown.

I found myself catching my breath, gravity’s curve
seen through such a small frame, from here where we sit
with our cups of tea. Vastness out there, our past.
But on planets elsewhere, other seas, other lives beginning.

Later, among the books, hearing your words,
it was waves I thought of – from land we may never see
reaching across the bulge of this little earth
to break, not one the same, on familiar shores.

– Anne Cluysenaar, © 2013, All rights reserved

taken from the poem diary From Seen to Unseen and Back by Anne Cluysenaar, Cinnamon Press, 2014; originally published on this site in February 2013 with Anne’s permission and that of Second Light Live, the publisher of ARTEMISpoetry, the magazine from which it was excerpted 

Anne Cluysenaar, Welsch poet
Anne Cluysenaar, Welsh poet and painter

British poet, Myra Schneider, wrote this morning saying that the esteemed Welsh poet, Anne Cluysenaar (b. 1935) died yesterday. Anne was born in Belgium and migrated  to Britain before the start of World War II. She was graduated from Trinity College at Dublin and became an Irish citizen in 1961, living there on a small property she owned and managed with her husband, Walt Jackson. She is the daughter John Edmond Cluysenaar (1899-1986), Belgian artist.

Anne had worked as a visiting teacher of creative writing at the University of Wales at Cardif and taught literature, linguistics and stylistics at a number of other universities. She was a Fellow of the Welsh Academy.

Anne’s poetry was included numerous anthologies and literary magazines and among her many poetry collections is  this year’s: From Seen to Unseen and Back, Cinnamon Press.

Anne was editor for many years of Scintilla, a journal of literary criticism, prose and poetry in the metaphysical tradition. She was active in and well-regarded by Second Light Network of Women Poets (UK). Her poetry was shared in their magazine and poetry collections and she was a tutor, mentor and often a judge in their poetry competitions. Anne Cluysenaar has left behind a stream of uplifting poetry and a legion of appreciative readers.

Anne’s portrait courtesy of Second Light Live.

– Jamie Dedes