What Martin Figura is reading


It’s been something of a hobby horse of mine for a long time that this country’s rich variety of regional accents and language is hardly represented in our poetry. I blame the old grip of Oxford on what is the proper language for poetry. What does exist tends to be in the folk tradition (fisherman or ploughing) or northerners (self included) banging on about the Tories. But little contemporary that really celebrates the vernacular richness of our many voices.

So I fell upon this book with much anticipation and from the first line: When I became a bird, Lord, nothing could not stop me at last! the real deal, proper poetry you can read with enormous pleasure again and again. It honours the glories of the Black Country’s idiosyncratic and self-deprecatory voice with grace. Better still go and hear Liz Berry read from it and witness a room struck dumb by her quiet voice.

Further information about Martin can be seen here.

2 thoughts on “What Martin Figura is reading”

  1. A number of the ‘vernaular’ poems I found seemed simply to exist for the use of vernacular, which is always a danger.
    I eagerly snapped up her ‘Patron Saint…’ book. She has been Very productive lately: hard to keep up, especially on a tight budget!

  2. I had the joy of being at Ty Newydd in the summer when Liz was the guest reader – what an evening! The freshness of hearing poetry written in someone’s real voice, celebrating accent and dialect unselfconsciously was breathtaking. Can’t recommend ‘Black Country’ and Liz reading it highly enough.

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