Now We Can Talk Openly About Men

Martina Evans

£9.99

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Carcanet Press Ltd
31 May 2018
ISBN: 9781784105785
Paperback

From the publisher

Shortlisted for the 2019 Irish Times Poetry Now Award. Shortlisted for the 2019 Pigott Poetry Award. Shortlisted for the 2019 Roehampton Poetry Prize. Featured in the TLS & Irish Times Books of the Year 2018. 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.