Martin Figura

Martin Figura’s collection and show Whistle was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award and won the 2013 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show. He won the Poetry Society’s 2010 Hamish Canham Prize. His most recent publications are Shed (Gatehouse Press) and Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine (Cinnamon Press), both published in 2016. A new edition of Whistle is to be published by Cinnamon Press in early 2018. The spoken word show Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine showcased in 2016, and began touring with producer Tilt in 2017. He was runner up in the 2017 RSPB/Rialto Poetry Competition. He lives in Norwich with Helen Ivory, where he runs the literature event Café Writers.

Photo: Dave Gutteridge


Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine »

Martin Figura returns to StAnza with his new witty and tender show about surviving life’s catastrophes and wounds

Fri 9 March | 15:30 - 16:30 | £5.50/£4.50 | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Auditorium


New Year Redux

Each guest slips from fog
and through the door
like a softly lit movie star

and casts adrift: the new-build houses
opposite, the call centres, the inner ring-road’s
constant hum and this little room

is warm and bright with party dresses
and men with quiffs in baggy suits
and in the bedroom up above

where all the faux-fur coats
are chucked, the radio’s clock flips back
and back and above the roof, above the fog

stars are streaks across the sky
and above all that, beehives glow
like standard lamps and Louis Prima swings

and jokes are spilt and someone shouts
          fetch me a blousy woman now 
and his wife throws her scarf

about his neck, kisses him loose
upon the mouth and from our mouths
If you knew Susie, like I know Susie

Oh, Oh, Oh, what a girl and in the yard
fog is smoke and smoke is breath
and cigarettes are shooting stars

and through the misted window’s blur
is that my mother’s gap-toothed grin,
my aunts and uncles counting down

and is this me at the back door
a lump of coal gripped in my fist?


Martin Figura

From Dr Zeeman's Catastrophe Machine (Cinnamon Press, 2015)