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Martina Evans
Martina Evans

Martina Evans is a poet, novelist and teacher and is the author of ten books of prose and poetry. Her first novel, Midnight Feast, won a Betty Trask Award in 1995 and her third novel, No Drinking No Dancing No Doctors (Bloomsbury, 2000), won an Arts Council England Award in 1999. Her fourth poetry collection, Facing the Public was published by Anvil Press in September 2009 and has won bursary awards from both the Irish Arts Council (An Chomhairle Eiraíon) and Arts Council England. Facing the Public was a TLS Book of the Year in 2009 and won the Premio Ciampi International Prize for Poetry in 2011. Petrol, a prose poem won a Grants for the Arts Award in 2010 and was published by Anvil Press in 2012. Midnight Feast and Through The Glass Mountain, a new prose poem, were published by Bloom Books in 2013.

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Martina Evans Poetry

Daddy and Mae West
for my brother Richard Cotter, in memory of our father Richard Cotter 1902–1988


Come up and see me some time, you said, patting the yellow Formica
with swollen crooked hands, the morning Mae died and Mammy said
there was more to you than met the eye, half laughing and half annoyed
too, as if Mae might have some claim on you. You were old enough to
be my grandfather and that wasn’t always easy when you were referred
to as such and the truth is you didn’t believe in washing much maybe
you were saving water for you were as pathologically tight as a
concentration camp survivor, knotted laces, rusty nails, old Moore’s
Almanacs, the salvage fashion was waiting for you. Every now and
then there was a clean sweep and scrub and you were bereft as I am
now, reading my brother’s email about the farm in the forties. You sang
but rarely to an audience, I remember Fill Up Once More and Glorio,
Glorio, to the Bold Fenian Men but I was a child caught up in days of
wishing, why wouldn’t you wash? My brother says that your favourite
was Felons of Our Land and he heard you sing The Four Leaf
Shamrock at Yellowtown, your tenor playing against a thick rapt
silence. You’d gone there to have a farm implement fixed. That word. I
hear you now frustrated in the seventies, asking had any of us seen your
implement. You used old expressions like By Jove and called bowls
vessels. But my brother saw you dancing – you. Traditional ballroom
dancing my brother writes and he did the Russian Sailor dance, kicking
his legs while down on his haunches. Come up and see me some time, I
want to say. Come dancing.




From Burnfort, Las Vegas by Martina Evans (Anvil Press - November 2014)


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