Somewhat Vortex, the debut poetry collection by Orla Martin, is a response to the ebb and flow of life. A singular and somewhat staccato style brings into focus a unique take on the banal, the absurd and, occasionally, a robin. Angled over life, the poet seeks to understand and connect the zig-zag of people, the jagged and plume, with lambent portraits of family, epilogues to love and a view from the poetry spectrum. There is a guest appearance by Wilson, the emotional support blackbird. There are Tuesday clothes. There could have been many more references to Radiohead. There are poems that may create something beautiful, perhaps.
“There is something wonderfully theatrical about Orla Martin’s debut collection Somewhat Vortex, with many of its poems begging for a mic and a captive audience. But like all theatre, behind the drama, the irony, the self-deprecating wit, lies the quiet pain and hard-earned joy of what it means to be human. ‘Remember, not too much of yourself, it scares them off,’ the poem’s narrator reminds herself, but these poems insist on having their say, unexpectedly revealing through playful and clever use of language, the darkness as well as the light – ‘leave me untamed, uneven, odd, hopping for my life down the street.’ Short and sweet, with a satisfying sting in its tail, Somewhat Vortex will have you standing in your seat, shouting ‘More!’”
“Orla Martin’s debut collection is to be admired as a confident body of work. The ironic voice is totally contemporary, at home with images of space travel or a poet cycling down the South Circular Road. The cadences are delightful, the language witty and pithy. She wields words as a skilful surgeon wields a scalpel.”
“Martin navigates labyrinths with deft alacrity.”