Luke Wright - Mondeo Man (4 stars)

Luke Wright - Mondeo Man

Poetry collection with a rich strain of empathy from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe favourite

Performance poet Luke Wright’s Cynical Ballads was an unquestioned highlight of the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe, earning gushing reviews for his witty, unsparing view of modern England. Several pieces from that show are reproduced here in his debut poetry collection, happily losing little without his cocky, assured delivery.

Some, such as ‘The Ballad of Chris & Ann’s Fish Bar’, benefit greatly from the chance to linger over their tender, pathetic humour, a clear-sighted examination of an unexamined relationship sadly eroding. For although Wright’s sprightly verse drips with cynical disdain for Tories, outraged tabloidese and the weekend excesses of a feckless working-class, there’s a rich strain of empathy coursing through his work, albeit one brutally evidenced in ‘The Ballad of Raoul Moat’. More Crappy Albion than Broken Britain, Wright finds elements to celebrate and indulge in the demonised aspects of our culture, rarely going too long without belittling his own status as a show-off, stay-at-home dad.

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