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by Martin Jago
£10 (pub. 2023)

This powerful debut constructs a vivid portrayal of past and present events through unflinching and often darkly humorous poetry. These poems collide at the intersection of childhood trauma and adult memory, where identity is shaped and 'No one sees or hears / the crash – its horror unfolding between the front seats / in slow motion...'  Through its narrative, this collection captures the chaos and energy of a childhood, the manipulations and assaults that hollow it out, and ultimately, the interplay between human fragility and resilience on the path to adult life. Along the way, there are ghosts, flashbacks, haunted dreams and vivid imaginings, and the test of human courage represented by a courtroom trial.


Praise for Photofit:

“Detailed and vivid in its imagery, Martin Jago's poetry is as dramatic as it is searching. In language as energetically voiced as the 'Trust me, it's going to work' instruction in the collection's title poem, the narratives of Photofit imagine into being an entire world of possibility and understanding.”

Jane Draycott


“Jago succeeds in writing into and about the unsayable, capturing the unruly edge of male vulnerability from all its angles. With a deft and modulated control of form, a haunting and luminous collection emerges probing ideas of memory, identity and culpability.”

Mary-Jane Holmes


"Photofit is a striking series of memories mounted to help heal and escape the pain of traumatic intrusion. Through a lush language, a precision of line break and form like High Renaissance brushwork, Jago has crafted a book of defiance and dignity, a book of self-confrontation and courage, a book of empowerment and healing."

Jose Hernandez Diaz


The Gap

The thing I hate the most is the          gap
the                   gap between us now the         gap
that you don’t even know exists. The            gap that’s filled
with all the ghosts of unsaid words turning up         
their collars and rushing from the room the                gap that occupies
the space between what he does and what you know
the                   gap he put between us.
Best mates. How do you begin?
Where do you even start to say that kind of thing?
You don’t. You never speak it. Never. Not that.
Not to your best mate. That would just be
weird. But maybe, one day, maybe, but only when
we’re old men and he’s long dead, only then the       
gap could start to close. For now the             gap is here  
like the space between your ears
where some thoughts just can’t be.

(from Photofit)


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