Last week I walked through Maidenhead suburbs.
Good old boys stooping to check their tyre pressures,
mums hauling kids in car seats like they’re shopping,
bins standing to attention by well-kept lawns
neat as parade grounds, a Valium hush
and a blue door that made me think of a lido
I visited before we were together,
before the life we made swelled in your belly.
(from ‘Mondeo Man’)
Explosive political satire and acerbic wit leap from stage to page in Mondeo Man – the hotly anticipated debut collection from Luke Wright. Yummy mummies and debauched Tory grandees mingle with drunk Essex commuters and leering tabloid paps; a small town chip-shop becomes the site of a heart-wrenching story of failed marriage; and a televised manhunt enthrals an entire nation.
Wide-ranging, approachable and formally adept, Mondeo Man both celebrates and laments a country of disappearing pubs, celebrity anti-heroes and motorway service stations, perfectly capturing the English idiom at the turn of the twenty-first century. Whether in sonnet, ballad, ottava rima or univocalism, Wright’s fast-paced rhythms and inventive rhyme always hit the spot and never pull their punches. This is poetry at its most contemporary, satirical, fun, and archetypally English.
“If any contemporary collection is going to convince the unbeliever that poetry can be a riot of cheek, giggles, boobs, tears and Facebook – while keeping its artistic integrity firmly intact – Mondeo Man is it.’
☆☆☆☆☆ Huffington Post
“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. More Crappy Albion than Broken Britain.”
☆☆☆☆ The List
“Mondeo Man brims with punchy, gritty parodies of modern British society; the sort of gesture that could be a wave, but may just be two fingers [...] rude, rabid and relentlessly rhythmic.”
The Cambridge Student
“Celebratory, mournful, critical and tender – Mondeo Man frames the stuttering start to the twenty-first century”
Julia Bird, Poetry London
“Wright’s craft is at this point extraordinarily fine-tuned: there is barely a bum rhyme to be found, and [Mondeo Man] has a far greater share of total stunners – the kind of rhyme that you never saw coming and yet, once it has, is perfect and obvious – than most formal collections.”
Harry Giles, Dr Fulminare
“Mondeo Man takes pleasure in revealing our own world and our own lives to us. In particular it enjoys highlighting the stilted forms of normality that we didn’t realise we had accepted, while at the same time pointing out to us the weirdness and wonderfulness of that normality. Like the everyday episodes they depict, [these poems] are subtly profound without announcing their complexity. In a very short time, given its cultural specificity, this collection will be a fascinating historical document.”
Tess Somervell, Tower Poetry
“There are few recent books more viscerally enjoyable than Mondeo Man. It manages to balance a gleeful play with the richness of language with a straight-faced and fundamentally optimistic social consciousness.”
“Wright’s work is sustaining. He is a fine animator of myth: ‘Britannia’s on the sauce again’. The ballad is alive, well and living in Wright’s Essex, hiding ‘a hipflask at the Cenotaph’, quick-witted and light on its feet.”
“[Mondeo Man is] not only verbally substantial, skilful and very funny but also complex in its feeling. It is Luke-laddish wit but laced with some fellow-feeling for its subjects, and self-irony. It is not drunk on itself, loves words and verbal patterns, and is set in an important public sphere that it observes in depth. It knows what it’s talking about.”
“Luke is a craftsman with a big heart. [Mondeo Man is] an excellent book.”
“One of our best young poets”
“Visceral, poignant and riotously funny”
“One of the funniest and most brilliant poets of his generation”
Cover design by Will Daw
Published 1 February 2013
The best young performance poet around
Luke Wright is a poet and broadcaster. His poetry stage shows have toured the world and played sold-out runs in London and Edinburgh. He is a regular contributor to BBC Radio and his verse documentary on Channel 4 was nominated for a Grierson Award. Mondeo Man is his first collection.