Review – Luke Wright: Poet Laureate

Luke Wright: Poet Laureate – New Wolsey Studio last night and touring

I’ve watched Luke Wright’s progress over the past 15 years or so – from a tentative explosion onto the scene at an early Pulse Festival to the edgy but experienced performance poet he is today. Always watchable – his work has of necessity matured over the years – but he’s always had something to say about the state of the nation – and his poetry always resonates – even if you don’t agree with his views.

One of his early tours was called ‘Poet Laureate’ – and apparently local radio stations, slightly bizarrely, genuinely mistook him for the role. This tour looks at the history of and the role of Poet Laureate within the state of our country in the midst of one of the greatest crises we’ve faced politically – yet Luke has been going through trying times personally too – so these poems are much more emotional than his previous work – missing his mum, the loneliness of the long distance gig, and finding a way through the inevitable heartache and guilt of a split relationship when children are involved.

So this show is a very mixed bag. The opening piece decries the Piers Morgan culture of Good Morning Britain, and there’s a poem about Prince Charles and the pretentiousness of the avocado and latte generation – but there’s also poems about motorways and service stations and missing the kids.

His presentation is always spot on – he delivers the poetry in rapid fire without barely a breath -going on 40 but still looking 25 and edgy as he did when he first started out.  With a mixture of humour, pathos and political comment this is a show that leaves you slightly breathless, a little thoughtful but certainly entertained.

The position of Poet Laureate is up for grabs again this year – as it’s now a ten year stint and Carol Anne Duffy has done hers. Maybe it’s time to turn the role on its head and pick the local boy from Bungay. We could do a lot worse.


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