Martin Figura – The News To Vanishing Point

Photo of Martin Figura
By Dave Guttridge

This week’s guest on the podcast is Martin Figura talking about how he wrote his acclaimed collection and show Whistle which deals with the death of his mother at the hands of his father. Confronting this traumatic childhood experience transformed his writing and led him to explore life experiences through metaphor, resulting in some of his strongest work.
Here is a poem as performed in the show.

Gothic by Sue Burge

Sue Burge

Sue Burge is this week’s podcast guest talking about her love of poetry and cinema and where the two meet. This is a key poem Sue’s debut collection In the Kingdom of Shadows.


A girl, her dress a blank canvas
for long-fingered shadowstains;

a bed, draped, tucked with
the coolness of scented cotton –

under, decay blooming
like a ripening bruise.

A man, noctambulant,
walks a tightrope between two lives.

Shadows, forged by the lamplighter,
undulate like a swirled cloak,

finding the cracks of a world
stitched together too many times.

A garden, walls smooth and straight as a tomb,
the earth beneath sown with broken fingernails.

And me, caught in the projector’s dancing beam,
lips parted, wanting it
dark, dark, dark.

Intelligentsia by Jamie Osborn

This poem by Jamie Osborn is part of a series written in response to working on a refugee camp in Chios, Greece. Tune into the podcast this Thursday to hear him talk about his experiences and share more poems from the series.


Suleiman, your breath stinks. Of smoke, of
drink. Though you’ve not a cent or dinar
to your name, there’s money burning holes
in your hands you peer through. You ask, so
I buy you hair-gel, and you eat it,
believing in the alcohol. It
will make you handsome. The sleepless nights
will darken your lids, make your lashes
seem less long. Come on, Suleiman, I’ll
buy you coffee and – though I know you
will not touch it, for your mother’s sake –
we’ll get stoned on pot, dance together
naked down the street. Set the textbooks
ringing – arm in ashy arm, we’ll be indi-
gents, two island-hoppers with nothing
left to revel in but Marlboros.

Originally published as part of the series Chios (a case of knives) in PN Review 246 (March – April 2019)