Friday, May 17, 2024

Night of the Hawk: Poems by Lauren Martin - Review

This is my favorite kind of poetry. Poems that speak of the woman's experience, of family, of everything that makes us happy, or sad, in our lives. Moments that are sometimes tragic, sometimes joyful...and often somewhere in between. 

The poem below really spoke to me. I had to share it in its entirety. As a postmenopausal woman myself, I can certainly relate to it. Women beyond that "expiration date" are often forgotten, or our opinions seem at times to not matter, as they mattered once. Still, there are those who know that we came before and that our voices do still matter.


Is we are ignored
     Everywhere - even in poetry

Somehow not romantic or feminist
Our wisdom excluded as undignified
As undignified as women running into the cold night with hot 
flashes peeling layers

"We're not helping men into the
conversation by making them feel
emasculated"   I say

And experience a new version of "blame the victim."

One in which there is no respect for the 
elder authority of the endocrine system 
and years of misogyny with no
conversation. Where we screamed into 
the Grand Canyon that blew dust back 
into our faces on the hot wind

I am told that I lack some insight that is 
honored and reflected in youth     rather
     must reflect my inability as an 
"old feminist" to differentiate between my 
"internalized misogyny" and what is

To be told that you have no idea when 
We paved the way
When I am standing on the shoulders 
of my own mother

You don't see me

And maybe that's because you're 
Not looking down
To the foundation of     my shoulders
To the years of my sleeves rolled up 
And boots tied high
At rallies and secret activist meetings 
Countless abuses of power 
Soul changing assaults

I can see the context of our culture
Then and now
And am happy you are bashing
The door open
Breaking the
Glass ceiling
But it's not because     we didn't try
Of course we did
Our height lets you touch
                                 the glass with
your hammer

Another poem that struck me, "OF TIMES TRAVELLED" because of this verse...

So the choice is
Lonely alone
or Lonely with
And how many women
Feel this
Or are discounted for their substance

Since my divorce 10 years ago, I have chosen to remain alone. Going along with what the verse says, I'd rather be lonely alone than lonely when I'm with someone. And you know what...I'm not really lonely.

This book of poems is an excellent volume to add to anyone's poetry collection. It is certainly going to be added to mine.

About the collection:

When I have wandered
long enough
what am I still beholden to?

Ifá. Nature. Illness. Love. Loss. Misogyny. Aging. Africa. Our wounded planet. In this sweeping yet intensely personal collection, Lauren Martin tells the untold stories of the marginalized, the abused, the ill, the disabled—the different. Inspired by her life’s experiences, including the isolation she has suffered as a result both of living with chronic illness and having devoted herself to a religion outside the mainstream, these poems explore with raw vulnerability and unflinching honesty what it is to live apart—even as one yearns for connection.

But Night of the Hawk is no lament; it is powerful, reverential, sometimes humorous, often defiant—“ Oh heat me and fill me / I rise above lines ”—and full of wisdom. Visceral and stirring, the poems in this collection touch on vastly disparate subjects but are ultimately unified in a singular to inspire those who read them toward kindness, compassion, and questioning.

Advance praise:

“The poems gathered here address themes of survival, chronic illness, shamanism, and feminism against the backdrop of daily life. . . . The diversity of experience examined makes for a collection that is both full and human. A whole life in one volume.” —Kirkus Reviews “Night of the Hawk is a luminous and numinous collection about women and men, about betrayal and forbearance, about endurance, death, and art, and, most essentially, about the search for a sacred path through life. There is so much love in these poems” –Michael Laurence, award-winning playwright “Lauren’s poems drop into your psyche and ripple outward, echoing in the moments of life. Their beauty haunts.” –Sallie Ann Glassman, Head Manbo Asogwe of La Source Ancienne Ounfo

About the Poet:

Lauren Martin is a psychotherapist, poet, and a devoted Ìyânífá. She lives in Oakland, California. Lauren studied poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. She spent years writing without submitting her work due to a long shamanic journey, which led her to both Ifá, and to the writing of this collection of poems. Learn more at:

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Night of the Hawk

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