Petrol (section 3)

Bloody Marys, Jaysus! Granddad was disgusted beside the range, Lucky standing on his lap, wet nose pointing high in the air when Agnes ran in from the bar, her brown velour arm wrapped around the plastic ball of the Coca-Cola ice bucket. It’s far from ice they were reared! Granddad said but Justin always made Bloody Marys for his favourites, slim dark women who wore their clothes like Jackie Kennedy. It was a big operation with all the stuff and the Tabasco sauce stirred with a long clanking spoon. Granddad ground his teeth as Agnes tore the tray from the side of the yellow-iced freezer, staggering on her high brown clogs in her modest A-line corduroy skirt. I, too, was thinking she was too good for this work. They don’t know what they want, Granddad said. Ice one minute, hot whiskeys the next. Those bloody women. The Bloody Mary drinkers. And his last comment when the ice cubes tumbled into the Coca-Cola bucket, every single woman that Justin ever took on suffered from her nerves.

by Martina Evans

An announcement of one Poetry Centre podcast and two readings! This week’s poet, Martina Evans, will be reading from her new collection, Petrol, with the Dutch poet Nachoem Wijnberg & his translator, David Colmer, this Friday 12 April. Nachoem and David will be reading from their latest collection Advance Payment (a Poetry Book Society Translation Choice for Spring 2013). The reading will take place on Friday from 6.30-8.30pm at the Duke of Wellington pub in London. A flyer for the event is available on the Poetry Centre’s Facebook page.

The latest Poetry Centre podcast, featuring Oxford poet Alan Buckley, is now available. Alan discusses his poem ‘Voicemail’ and considers the nature of poetic influence, the roles that breath and the body play in the creation of poetry, and the responsibilities which a poet has towards the subject of an elegy. Alan will also be reading this week in Oxford alongside last week’s poet, Claire Trévien, and Amy Key. That reading is on Thursday at the Albion Beatnik Bookshop on Thursday at 7.30pm. There are more details on our Facebook page and on Claire’s own website here.

‘from Petrol (section 3)’ is copyright © Martina Evans, 2012. It is reprinted by permission of Anvil Press from Petrol (Anvil Press, 2012).

Notes from Anvil Press:

Petrol is a prose poem disguised as a novella of adolescence in Co. Cork, Ireland. With its dizzy pace and perfect narrative timing it is a unique work and a remarkable departure for a writer whose poetry is widely appreciated for its humour and uncompromising depiction of rural Ireland. Writing about Martina Evans’s work, Christopher Reid has observed that ‘she shows an impressive command of what feels like the ideal narrative medium: individual moments and drive of narrative in perfect coordination, language alive and kicking.’ 

Martina Evans has published four collections of poetry and three novels. She was born in Cork, the youngest of ten children, and now lives in London.

Anvil Press, founded in 1968, is based in Greenwich, south-east London, in a building off Royal Hill that has been used at various points in its 150-year history as a dance-hall and a printing works. Anvil grew out of a poetry magazine which Peter Jay ran as a student in Oxford and retains its small company ethos.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.