4.46 (13 ratings by Goodreads)
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An escaped lion roams the streets of Essex; a lonely pensioner holds a tower block fete; and a young woman dreams of leaving home. Travel the unfashionable A-roads and commuter lines of England -'where industry meets marsh'- with poet Luke Wright. In his stunning new collection, discover a country riven by inequality and corruption but sustained by a surreal, gallow's humour. The Toll combines the elegaic with the anarchic, placing uproarious satire cheek-by-jowl with wild experiments in form and touching poems of parenthood. In this mature follow-up to his best-selling debut, Mondeo Man, Wright captures the strain of austerity Britain, speaking truth to power and registering the toll it takes on us all.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 94 pages
  • 139.7 x 215.9 x 6.1mm | 140.61g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1908058420
  • 9781908058423
  • 1,048,740

Table of contents

O England Heal My Hackneyed Heart The Slow Days A12 Dad Reins Essex Lion Hoax Spad The Ballad of Edward Dando, the Celebrated Gormandiser Thunder, Lightning, etc. VAD Hospital, Saffron Walden, 1915 Watch The Pretender The Much Harpingon One-way System One Trick Bishop The Bastard of Bungay IDS The Toll Kelvedon - Liverpool Street The Back Step Family Funeral Sue's Fourteener Ron's Knock-off Shop On Revisiting John Betjeman's Grave The Minimum Security Prison of the Mind David, at 68 Lullaby Hungover in Town, Sunday Morning Burt Up Pub The Ballard of Carlos Cutting Swimming with Aidan, aged 4 Essex Lion (... continued)
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Review quote


Sharp, gritty and warm by turns ... an overview of the mingled corruptions, humour and blessings of living in ... modern Britain.


Life in today's Britain takes its toll on so many, including the characters in the poems, and no contemporary poet understands or conveys that better than [Luke] Wright.


The Toll is a rich collection that is diversely peppered with the comedic and the moving. A master of sound, [Wright] invokes the traditional poetry canon and places it with the decidedly modern reflections of the state of England in 2017.




Visceral, poignant and riotously funny


Celebratory, mournful, critical and tender

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About Luke Wright

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. His first collection, Mondeo Man, was published in 2013. His first play, What I Learned from Johnny Bevan, won a Fringe First Award, The Stage Award For Acting Excellence and The Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show.
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Rating details

13 ratings
4.46 out of 5 stars
5 69% (9)
4 15% (2)
3 8% (1)
2 8% (1)
1 0% (0)
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