Patience Agbabi - Bloodshot Monochrome (3 stars)

Patience Agbabi - Bloodshot Monochrom



There’s definitely something about the label ‘radical feminist bisexual performance poet’ that conjures up images of a woman with multiple axes to grind. Luckily, Patience Agbabi, a former Eton writer-in-residence and regular Edinburgh Book Festival speaker, is too busy showing off her verbal gymnastics to linger too long on the ball-breaking or ranting.

Straddling the literary divide between high-brow and low-brow, this third poetry collection from Agbabi playfully imagines an agony aunt’s conversation with celebrated poets like Robert Frost, Shakespeare and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, before taking a modern day channel flick through botched Gaydar romances, casual racism, feeder boyfriends and the birth of her baby son. Her love of the English language, and finding new ways she can subvert it, shines through. Honest, darkly funny and endlessly creative, she takes the sonnet, chats it up, tattoos it, gives it some motherly advice then sends it away again.