patience agbabi

December Review and Happy New Year

Well, the three months since starting Proletarian Poetry certainly went quickly. December was a bit of a quieter month in terms of number of posts but there were great poems, some of which spread across continents and covered such themes as gender, family, friendship, poverty, and pacts with the Devil.

bewketu seyoumFirst up in December were three short poems from Ethiopian poet, Bewketu Seyoum‘s “In Search of Fat”. I was introduced to Bewketu’s translator, Chris Beckett at The Shuffle, which is the last Saturday of the month in the Poetry Cafe. Seyoum’s poems, trace the history of Ethiopia and the struggle of its people to find freedom and peace. (more…)

The Devil in Cardiff by Patience Agbabi

agbabi_pDo you know a Robbo? That lovable rogue or thieving toerag (depending on your point of contact with him) who lives down the road but has a second home at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. I once knew a ‘Robbo’ who was so prisoned-up he set out his toothbrush, shaving brush, and face cloth like he was setting a place at a dinner table. Given the wonderful account of Robbo in The Devil in Cardiff, I know Patience Agbabi must have met a few such characters in her time.

Here, our Robert Owen (Robber Owing, one of many funny play-on-words throughout the poem, as you can tell from its title) meets what turns out to be the Devil Incarnate in a pub (where else!). Thinking, ‘He’ll teach him the tricks of the trade,‘ his trajectory down into that fiery hell, is sealed when taking the Devil with him out on the job. (more…)