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Now We Can Talk Openly About Men
RRP: GBP 9.99
You Save: GBP 1.00
Price: GBP 8.99
This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 1 784105 78 5
Categories: 21st Century, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: May 2018
216 x 135 x 7 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB), eBook (PDF)
Martina Evans’s Now We Can Talk Openly about Men is a pair of dramatic monologues, snapshots of the lives of two women in 1920s Ireland. The first, Kitty Donovan, is a dressmaker in the time of the Irish War of Independence. The second, Babe Cronin, is set in 1924, shortly after the Irish Civil War. Kitty is a dressmaker with a taste for laudanum. Babe is a stenographer who has fallen in love with a young revolutionary. Through their separate, overlapping stories, Evans colours an era and a culture seldom voiced in verse.
Set back some years from their stories, both women find a strand of humour in what took place, even as they recall the passion, vertigo and terror of those times. A dream-like compulsion in their voices adds a sense of retrospective inevitability. The use of intense, almost psychedelic colour in the first half of the book opposes the flattened, monochrome language of the second half. This is a work of vivid contrasts, of age and youth, women and men, the Irish and the English: complementary stories of balance, imbalance, and transition.
Awards won by Martina Evans Winner, 2011 Premio Ciampi Internazionale di Poesia (Ciampi International Poetry Prize) (Facing the Public)
'Full of insight and humour...Evan's ability to choose just the right word is unerring.'
Suzanne O'Sullivan, The Observer
'I loved everything about this book'
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
'Evans's ear for speech suits the monologue, and the monologues - talky, jumpy, Gothic - are intensely atmospheric, claustrophobic pieces... Here, and throughout, Evans catches the nightmarish powerlessness of living close to historical changes.'
John McAuliffe, The Irish Times
'Her ability to replicate on the page colloquial Irish rhythms and phrasing has been commented on before, and it draws the reader in from the beginning... Each poem is, in a sense, akin to a chapter of a novel, and there is narrative drive both within the poems and between them, but as they are poems, i.e. stand-alone entities and in this sense equally analogous to paintings, they serve as much as windows onto moments, thoughts, memories and feelings as narrative blocks.'
Chris Edgoose, Wood Bee Poet
'Evans' verse is tightly packed with images, but loose enough in its metre to read naturally. One can take the book at a running pace and enjoy a story with deep emotional beats, or slow the pace and reflect on the careful choice of wording.'
Joe Darlington, Manchester Review of Books
The admired vernacular brilliance of Martina Evans's poetry is applied here to her most ambitious work to date, bringing to vivid life one of the most terrible periods of Irish history from the Troubles around 1920 to the Civil War, as witnessed and experienced by two generations of women ... No other poet currently writing in Britain and Ireland can rival Evans's ability to represent the impact of the political on the personal without easy histrionics. This is a remarkable document, a major work.
Bernard O'Donoghue Praise for Martina Evans 'a subtle, challenging writer with a wonderfully destructive approach to the pieties she describes.'
John McAuliffe, Irish Times 'Evan's great skill is in knowing how much to put into a poem. She has a talent for selecting only the most resonant memories, for not over-icing the cake of sentiment. [...] Above all, Evans puts the right words in the right order, a dictum whose simple phrasing embodies its demands.'
Michael Duggan, PN Review 'These look like easy, anecdotal poems but they bite.'
Alan Brownjohn, Sunday Times 'A deceptively casual and enjoyable collection.'
Irish Times 'Martina Evans [is] brazenly humorous [...] with her dizzyingly wacky free-verse tale-telling.'
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