The opening poems of the Cork-born writer's fourth collection draw on stories from her Irish childhood and tales of the impact of the Black and Tans on her family's locality in the 1920s. The heady brew of Irish politics and religion is close to the surface throughout. The title poem captures conversational drama in Martina Evans' most engaging style, familiar to audiences at her successful readings:
My mother never asked like a normal person, it was
"I'm asking you for the last time, I'm imploring you
""not to go up that road again late for Mass..."
Martina Evans, poet, novelist and teacher, was born in Cork, the youngest of ten children. She now lives in London with her daughter Liadain. She has published three books of poetry and three novels.
Martina Evans's poems are a miracle, for the way they combine total clarity with profundity: the way the apparently innocent and observant humour of their narrative surface covers a compassion and understanding that are often heartbreaking and heartbroken. Tragedy and cheerfulness are inextricable here. 'Facing the Public' is my book of the year.' - Bernard O'Donoghue