Member Spotlight for the Month of January 2004 - Cathlyn Cartier

Cathlyn CartierWhen Cathlyn Cartier answered her phone with a bubbly southern accent, she was making tea and jell-o. When she was told she was the spotlight poet for January, a lot of different things came to mind. She couldn't believe it, but nonetheless was thrilled.

Cathlyn has been writing poetry for over 20 years. She started when she was thirteen years old, but didn't get serious with it until she found pathetic.org. She loves that people can read, comment on and rate her poetry; it inspires her to write more and read others' poetry. She has been a member since 1999. In that time, Cathlyn has contributed much of her time to involvement at the site. She moderates the 30 Something’s circle, co-moderates Words at Play, and also is a judge for the monthly Teen Poetry Contest.

It was when she was 13 that she chose her pen name: Cathlyn Marie Cartier. This change came at a time when most people feel at odds with who they are: adolescence. She likes to use her pen name still because she feels her real name is boring, likes the sound of her pen name, and is leery of the risks of using your real name on the Internet.

Robert Frost is the first name that comes up when Cathlyn is asked who her favorite poets are. She prefers older poetry, and feels like she just doesn't “get” the modern poetry, which she attributes to her age. More than the form, she enjoys what a poem is about: The subject. It is all the better if it is something she can relate to. She has tried her hand at form poetry but really prefers to concentrate most on invoking imagery, because that is what she admires in other poems that she reads.

When asked what poem of hers is her favorite, Cathlyn can't provide an answer. Since her poetry is all so different, and each comes from diverse situations, she could never choose. Someone once asked her what she would do if she had to delete all of her poems but one. Her reply was, "cry." The poems in her library she values most are the ones written about the children she works with. She doesn't like to write poetry about her own children because she doesn't want to sit down when she is angry and write things she will later regret.

The use of sensuality is evident in Cathlyn's poems. She wants people to be able to taste her poetry, smell it and see it. Poetry is the only form of writing that Cathlyn pursues; she likes research writing but doesn't have enough time for that. She loves to read short stories.

Due to a distinct fear of rejection, Cathlyn has never tried to get her poetry published. If someone were to come up and ask her if they could publish her poetry, she would immediately say yes, but she can't bear the thought of getting a rejection slip in the mail or over the internet. Cathlyn cherishes the art of longhand. She prefers to write all of her poems out, and edits them before they are posted on pathetic.org. Only once has she rewritten a poem after it was posted, and that was due to a fellow member confirming her doubts about a certain stanza.

Cathlyn was born in California but moved to Houston, Texas when she was about six months old; before she could even walk. She grew up in a farm environment, surrounded by the outdoors and nature. This has had a profound effect on her poetry. She has two younger brothers, and is very close to her parents, whom she lived next door to for a long time, before just recently moving to a new place.

A single mother of two boys with ADD, Cathlyn is a full-time teacher and a non-practicing massage therapist. She misses massage therapy because she felt she could let her problems go and focus on making other people feel better. She has worked with autistic students in the past, but this year works with a plethora of disabled students. She misses the autistic students because it was such a close-knit classroom. They still say hello to her when they pass her in the hallways.

Does being a single mother make it harder for her to write poetry? Cathlyn laughs and says that it is just the opposite. On difficult days, she expresses her frustration by writing poetry. "If the doctor won't give you a prescription, write a poem about it." Her positive attitude is what keeps her going.

The following is a list of the highlights of Cathlyn Cartier's poetry:


The member spotlighted in this month's "Member Spotlight" is chosen by the pathetic.org Spotlight committee, which is made up of a small group of site patrons and administrators. Each month a member is selected for this privilege based upon contributions to pathetic.org and the quality of work.

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