There’s more to 2019 than Brexit. It’s also the year that a new Poet Laureate will be appointed and in which Norfolk’s favourite poet Luke Wright celebrates the 20th anniversary of his first ever gigs. As part of a UK tour that also includes an April run at Soho Theatre in London’s West End, he will be performing a very special show at Norwich Playhouse on 30 March.
The new show is titled Luke Wright, Poet Laureate. Has he really chucked his hat in the ring for poetry’s top job as he embarks on a mission to write poems to unite a nation divided by austerity and Brexit? Can one poet ever really represent an entire nation? Luke delves into the murky world of poets laureate past: the heroes, the villains, and ones who didn’t even write poetry – just who are these previously laureled rogues?
Luke would be a dark horse for the job at best. He rejected his invite to the palace in 2012 and he’s really got to stop penning all those one-vowelled invectives about politicians if he’s to get a look in.
Luke said: ‘We turn to poetry at significant times in our lives: births, weddings, and funerals; when we are seeking solace; when we can’t find the right words ourselves. In the internet age we are pretty adept at seeking out the poetry we need. At times of national tragedy the right poet steps forward with the right words. So what need do we have of a national poet? How can just one poet represent our country? The laureateship is imperialistic and patriarchal. It imitates the monarchy it was created to prop-up. Maybe it’s time to cut poetry free from the establishment.’
Luke Wright, Poet Laureate enjoyed a two week sell-out run in Edinburgh, and the critics called it his best ever.
‘Fierce, wistful, romantic and witty by turns, this is a sensational hour of poetry.’ – The Stage
The centrepiece of the show, as always, will be Luke’s own blistering verse and impassioned delivery. Big-hearted and quick-witted, Wright’s poems have been lauded by everyone from Patti Smith to The Libertines. Truly a wordsmith and raconteur at the top of his game, he’s a Fringe First winner, a Stage Award winner (for acting, no less!) and he’s been the Fringe’s favourite poet for fifteen years.
Luke performed his first gig aged 17 while still at 6th college in Colchester in early 1999. His first paid gig followed a few months later at Norwich Arts Centre. Shortly after he co-founded poetry collective Aisle16, going on to inspire a generation of young poets (and reinvigorate a few older ones).
He is credited with spearheading the development of poetry all over the east of England and around the UK and locally he fronted the campaign to save Bungay Library and does a benefit for it every year
He has performed around the world and published a series of acclaimed books. The latest, After Engine Trouble, has just been published by Rough Trade and he has his first vinyl LP (a double) released next month, titled, appropriately, 20.
Luke has written and performed 12 full-length shows, he won multiple awards for his debut ‘verse play’ What I Learned from Johnny Bevan. He has been credited with making poetry relevant to a new generation and revitalising the spoken word touring circuit. He has performed in venues ranging from the back rooms of pubs to the London Palladium and a grand chamber in the Palace of Westminster. He can often be seen opening for John Cooper Clarke, his verse documentaries on Channel 4 have been enjoyed by millions and his poems can be heard on BBC Radios 3 & 4, sometimes further afield. He curates the spoken word line-ups at Port Eliot Festival, Festival Number 6 and The Edinburgh International Book Festival and did so for eleven years for Latitude Festival.
Luke Wright, Poet Laureate is at the Norwich Playhouse on 30th March, 8pm. Tickets £15.