Our selectors' comments:
The Choice for this quarter is Martina Evans’ Watch, which stood out from the crowd of pamphlets. Watch makes reference in its title to a place where the past cannot be separated from the present or the future. In ‘Oysters’, Evans declares: “despite all my childhood fantasies / of time travel and poking Henry the Eight / in his fat sectarian brocade / with my future finger.”
These are restless poems driven by uncertainty. In ‘My Persephone’, the poet begins with a long question: “Was it the small red crab apples crushed flat / making the Holloway pavements flush / with their trees’ harvest, the brown leaves / on the ground, the bombed conkers / the fact I was ten days late / that made me think she was Persephone?” Evans’ poetry often poses questions, escalating into moments of doubt.
As those familiar with Evans’ work would expect, there’s humour lurking in her poetry. In ‘Unicorns’, she says: “they are pretending to be white horses with one spike each / where the plaster fell off their left ears – how did / that happen?’ These skillfully sprung poems are fluid and direct. Evans’ Watch is a delight brimming with sharp observations.