CHARLES W. MARTIN, poet of the social conscience
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:
when i stopped by
for a visit
she noted that
there had been
a number of
the public need
of these indictments
in her opinion
– Charles W. Martin
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.
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.