Is there a better name for a poet than Charlotte Muse? The poet in question, who’s a long time resident of the Willows neighborhood in Menlo Park, smiles in agreement. “I kept my maiden name,” she notes.
Charlotte explains that at one time she was a social worker who has since “written a lot of stuff.” That includes a stint as Book Editor at Palo Alto Weekly and writing material for children’s reading programs.
Now she mainly writes poetry. Her most recent book – Violin – is a collaboration with her long time friend, artist/poet Joyce Savre. “There’s a group of us here locally that’s met for 25 years,” she says.
The two of them will be appearing together at Gallery Nine in Los Altos on Friday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 pm. The Gallery is featuring Joyce’s paintings, and Charlotte will read from Violin, accompanied by violinist Varun Joshi.
Charlotte’s enthusiasm for poetry spills beyond her own writing. She teaches a poetry workshop at her home which she limits to eight participants. “About half the class time is spent memorizing poets,” she says. “I want people to know about all the wonderful poets.
“Sometimes I stage what I call a ‘small adventures workshop.’ For example, we wrote poetry on a leaf.”
As a writer, Charlotte brings discipline to her craft: “As Isak Dinesen said, ‘Write a little every day, without hope, without despair.’
“I keep a journal in my purse. It also helps to go somewhere, so I ride my bike to the library a lot. I’ve learned to put a time limit on writing; for me, that’s usually 30 minutes.
“I tell my students to write for two minutes every day. If they write more, it’s not my business.
“Poetry comes when it comes. You just have to be there.”
Photo by Irene Searles