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Whistle by Martin Figura


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When Martin Figura was a ten year old boy, his father Frank murdered his mother June.

In poem after poem we observe the tender meticulous ways in which he remembers, mourns and forgives; the ways in which he tests and builds a future…

Poetry is language that can act as a time machine. Martin Figura travels back to the 50s, to the meeting and courtship of his parents, his own birth and boyhood and the stark dislocation of his boyhood when he and his sister, lose, effectively, both parents.

Figura employs throughout a pared-back and piercing lyricism and thus achieves, without a hint of sentimentality, the wrenching sense of abandonment his younger self experienced after the loss of his mother…

Figura regards his younger self with a sombre and insightful pity in poems that are distinguished by their quiet restrained diction. This compels attention, drawing the reader into the places of this fearsome narrative. The poems illuminate the darkness of the narrative …

In Whistle sorrow is given profound and moving words. This collection is a record of personal survival and renewal after the very earth of life and love has been scorched and devastated. Figura, keeping his nerve, guides us through a limbo of shifting and shadowed memories, through places where the encroaching Furies rampage, out into the clarity of comprehension and forgiveness, where it is possible for him, and for us, to claim life's paradoxical riches.

from Penelope Shuttle's review, Ink, Sweat and Tears magazine

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