‘Petrol is a masterpiece: deeply original and inspired.’ Bernard O’Donoghue

Click here to watch PETROL on youtube

‘Evans offers the child’s-eye view at its most dislocated, in language at once visceral and poised, drenched in sensory associations. Food, fabric, scent, hair – all appear in sharp relief; petrol itself wafts from the pages. Beneath these adeptly captured details , however, swims the inchoate lake of adolescent emotion which is Evans’s real subject: Petrol deals in unacceptable desires, semi-disgusting longings, yearning, lust and loss. It is a marvelous poem of youth, insightfully evoking a vanished Ireland and bringing the past to palpitating life…mediumistic, skilful and bittersweet.’  Poetry Review


‘Such genuine, witty writing is a rarity.’  Rachel Cusk

‘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.’ Christopher Reid

Petrol re-affirms, for the 21st century, the traditional gift for storytelling long associated with Irish writers, in a wholly unique and enrapturing manner’.  –Tony Murray, Director, Irish Studies Centre, London Metropolitan University

‘Here, the world turns upon a pub, a petrol pump and an impossible love. … Martina Evans’ world is transfixed by personal drama, by epiphanies in bars and Icebergs, Aztecs and Bloody Marys creating a kind of alcoholic, consumerist birdlife that sings above the human drama. Evans’ imagination is a unique one, darting, flitting, resonating with personal and poetic voices. As a poet she is one of a kind and brilliant.’  Thomas McCarthy

martina with Tom's Car and  Fifi

‘In the wings of Imelda’s small world, there’s a cast of locals who sit on their high stools around the bar and call to the shop to fill their petrol tanks and collect their “messages”. They lend such texture and authenticity that the seemingly humdrum events of the McConnell sisters’ history are every bit as complex, tumultuous, humorous and tragic as any of the films, television programmes and books which surround Imelda, from Ryan’s Daughter, to Night Gallery, to Catcher in the Rye.’ Sara Baume, Southword Magazine

Viewed in that sense Petrol could be seen as being, like Vertigo, primarily about grief. But in fact it is primarily concerned with a confluence of emotions and sensations. It is interested in describing that moment when adolescence really hits you with a bang. When the adult world is suddenly something which is relevant to you. When finances and responsibility and sex and death are all things which suddenly apply to you, at the very time that your body is changing and distorting all of your senses and emotions so that your heart feels like it’s in your knees. This is the world of Petrol, the strong, cheap smell of that substance permeating these pages like the very odour of adolescence. Evans needs her in-between language to fully evoke this mind state and it’s something she fully utilises, garnering poetry from prose in a way that, by the book’s end, makes you think that, Oh yes, that really was ‘a prose poem disguised as a novella. Why? Because by the book’s close, when ‘the BP sign creak[s] and creak[s] like a horror in the wind’, all of its cumulative resonances lift and shake you, placing you for a moment somewhere higher. Placing you for a moment on that ‘highest terrace of consciousness’, that Nabokov talks of in Speak Memory. ‘Where mortality has a chance to peer beyond its own limits, from the mast, from the past and its castle tower.’ John Lavin, Wales Arts Review
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.

                                                                       from Petrol, Anvil Press 2012

click here to read more excerpts from Petrol

Available to buy from Anvil Press

Through The Glass Mountain

Bloom Books June 2013TTGM FRONT COVER ONLY

Using the unique form of her dramatic poem, Petrol, Martina Evans compresses her original novel The Glass Mountain into a new book of cinematic prose poetry.

LISTEN to an excerpt on youtube

‘A spiritual pen-portrait which touches immaculately on exactly what it is like to be 18’ –
The Independent on Sunday

‘Haunting and Sympathetic.’ Bernard O’Donoghue


Martina talks to Julia Bell about Through The Glass Mountain – listen to the podcast on Writers’ Hub

To ‘Search Inside’ Through The Glass Mountain
and buy on Amazon click here