Saturday, April 17, 2010

Poetry Podcast: "I am a woman in ice" by Martha Courtot

Listen to the poem here:

About the poet

The Internet reveals very little information about Martha Courtot. I found this poem as part of the collection, "Poems from the Women's Movement" edited by Honor Moore.

And there, I found only the dates of her birth and death: 1941-2000.

I found an obituary of sorts on the website of the California Disability Alliance that described Courtot as "... a lesbian poet and writer of huge talent and great heart."

According to this post, she wrote two collections of poetry -- "Tribe" and "Journey" -- both are out of print. Library availability is scarce too.

Beyond this, there is very little verifiable information.

About this poem

Poems can mean different things to different people. In many cases, we do not know what the poet was feeling or thinking when s/he wrote a particular verse -- therefore, it is subjective.

When I read this poem, I thought of rebirth or reemergence -- the natural cycle of life, death, and rebirth that exists in nature.

It also brought to mind a recovery from depression. As a depressive myself, I often recall a feeling of being "frozen" in a state much like suspended animation -- not quite alive, but not dead.

When Courtot says, "I never thought I'd love the sun again," that's exactly how I felt.

I could find no biographies of Martha Courtot. She doesn't even have a separate Wikipedia entry. I'd like to give her one.


  1. Cherie,

    Martha Courtot was my mother. I am the oldest of three daughters, Thea Lawton, Heather Lawton and Cynthia McCabe. Please let me know if you are still interested in writing a Wikipedia entry for Martha. Her daughters would love to see her work and life get greater recognition! I google her name every few months to get a sense of whether her poetry and essays are still being read and shared, and I am thrilled whenever I find that they are. best, Thea email me at

  2. Cherie - I just started a Martha Courtot page on my blog: Come visit, post, and we'll make an internet space honoring Martha's work.