Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Q&A with Lauren Martin




Lauren Martin is the author of the new poetry collection Night of the Hawk. She lives in Oakland, California.


Q: Over how long a period did you write the poems in your new collection?

A: I wrote the poems in approximately two years and then spent a few years submitting the collection.

Q: The playwright Michael Laurence said of the book, “There is so much love in these poems; the jeweled lines sparkle and sing off the page--sometimes playful, sometimes frightening in their honesty, but always tender in their forgiveness of human foibles.” What do you think of that description?

A: I love that quote and I think it describes my work very well. I have never shied away from authenticity and complex emotional realities. I feel committed to inhabiting that kind of presence as an expression of kindness and connection in the world.

Q: How was the book’s title--also the title of one of the poems--chosen, and what does it signify for you?

A: Hawks within my shamanic existence have great significance. They come around me to either clear iku (death) or confirm I’m on the right path. In Ifá, raptors represent Ìyàmi (witches/great mothers). "Night of the Hawk" (the poem) reflects my struggle with my destiny and my plea for ease.

Q: How did you decide on the order in which the poems would appear in the collection?

A: My sister (my consummate supporter and editor) and I ordered and re-ordered it. We felt there was a journey, or several journeys, reflected in the poems: my journey with the Òrìsà, the journey with my injury/disability, and the journey of family understanding (from child to young adult to more mature adult).

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I have a memoir I have been writing for over a decade that chronicles my life course as a seer that I think is close to done. I have a second book of poetry that is also close to done.

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: My hope with these poems is to tell stories that people often don’t feel safe to tell.

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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