Beat Poetry in Society: How Patience Agbabi’s “Bloodshot Monochrome” Presents Different Perspectives on rhythm and style within their Socio-Cultural Influences


Upon and after reading Patience Agbabi’s Bloodshot Monochrome, I felt that work spoke to me as a beat poet. Also I felt this work spoke to me as someone who has always been fascinated with the rhythm, style and presentation that beat poetry brings to literature.  It was as if Patience Agbabi, as she was writing this collection of poems, was performing these poems in her mind as she was thinking of what to write.  I thought as well, as discussing different themes in terms of style, language and rhythm she also discusses different themes of culture, history and society.  One of the best examples of this I feel I shown in her “Problem Pages” section.  What she does so brilliantly is she presents the title of a poem; deciphers what they meant in their poem, in terms of their own personal matters or the time period they were writing in; interprets them in the form of pleas for advice; lastly, she gives her own advice on these situations as a way of conveying her perspective on each of these dilemmas.

The rhythm plays an important role in this work as well.  Especially in the poem entitled, “North(west)ern,”which uses music as a way of expressing the rhythm of spoken word without having to hear it.  The stanza that really spoke to me in terms of rhythm read:

“dancing on the road to Wigan Casino,

Northern Soul Mecca where transatlantic bass

Beat blacker than blue in glittering mono

The back, via Southport, Rhyl, to the time, place,” (13)

This poem truly represents the message of culture as well as the rhythm culrue brings to this piece.  To conclude, one can also see how not only music and rhythm but the roots of culture that brought them into existence, has played a role in not just British society, not just western society, but all society.  I feel it is safe to say the Patience Agababi shows the reader a spoken word performance, djembe drums and all, without having the actual performance right in front of us.


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