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2005 Writers Forum
Carlos Martinez

Carlos Martinez lives in Edmonds, WA, earned an MFA at Antioch University LA, and teaches literature and creative writing at Western Washington University. He's been published locally in Cranky, Crab Creek Review, Poets West Literary Journal, Jeopardy and 4th Street, as well as the local anthologies Vox Populi (1999 Seattle Poetry Festival), Pontoon #5 (Floating Bridge Press), and The Sound Close In (2004 Skagit River Poetry Festival). He's also published nationally in Morpo Review, Yawp, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Black Bear Review, Poet Lore, and Firefly, as well as in the anthology An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind: Poets on 9/11. Carlos Martinez photo
photo credit:
dean wong
In 2000, he was one of two featured poets at Poetrymagazine.com and in 2004 he was a featured reader and participant at the Skagit River Poetry Festival. His chapbook, The Cold Music of the Ocean, was published in August 2004. In 2003, he took second prize in the americas review poetry contest. He was recently selected as a 2005 Jack Straw Writing Fellow by Jack Straw productions in Seattle.
Read and listen to excerpts from a discussion between Carlos Martinez and 2005 curator John Mifsud.
Listen to an excerpt of Carlos's reading (MP3)
Between the formal and the open

In the absence of rhyme, how does one begin
to discuss time’s passage, either swift or slow,

or how light glows from the sky or refracts
from skyscraper windows, how the afterglow of day

gives way to pitch-dark night during a power
outage, or how lovers, once done, congregate

back inside themselves and pass a smile off
as being sufficient? Without those certain

words we love for euphony (call it music),
the musical touch of the tongue as short baton

we wield on the podium of who we are — hear
discordant notes, the ineptly executed passage —,

how can anything then become as lovely as
a song by Whitney Houston or Beyonce,

divas born to rapture, as when the poet
stirs in the morning and sips the first

cup of coffee, lights the first cigarette —
aroma of smoke as intoxicating as

illegal weed —, what is he or she to write,
to read out loud in the bathroom, acoustics perfect?

Law, say the gardeners, is the sun. Law is
whatever needs to be done to bring alive

and kicking anything that shines and glimmers
when we see it. Rhyme or open form,

that’s the question. The chorus in the back
room of who I am chooses the proper notes,

the wrinkled sheet of music I need to use.
You choose, too, what you need.
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