Beginners: Poetry - a word to strike terror into the hearts of many. But be not afraid!

First of all, what qualifies as poetry?

Poetry is language distilled. Some poems rhyme - but they don't have to.

If it doesn't rhyme, surely it's prose!

Well, yes, sometimes it's a close call, but stop being argumentative.

And performance poetry, what the Dickens is that?!

Generally, it's about entertainment. Some poems are best read to yourself in a contemplative manner. Performance poetry is more immediate - to be read aloud or recited, with verve - usually by the author. Often (but not always) comedy.

Of course, my performance poems can also be read silently. (There are links to some of them on the right in the Poetry Cornucopia column).


The London Scene:

Poetry is happening in rooms and basements of pubs, various halls, as part of cabarets and in dedicated venues. At one end of the spectrum it's like stand-up comedy with mostly young performers - quite fresh and lively. There can be plenty of swearing and explicit sexual references. (Personally, the swearing bores me - shouldn't poetry be about finding more original ways to express things? As for the sex - well, I don't mind a bit of that!) At the other end of the spectrum the scene can be pretty gloomy - more like therapy for the writers than entertainment. At one event I attended, it seemed the coats, hair and beards got longer and scraggier with each successive reader. I'd try to avoid events like this, but sometimes you can't tell until you turn up. At its best, a 'spoken word' event makes a thoughtful and refreshing change.

There are listings for poetry events in TimeOut and there's also Jim Bennett's Poetry Kit website and newsletter: www.poetrykit.org



I have performed at various comedy/poetry venues in London, including the famous Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden; and, along with Iona Jette, I was resident host of a show called The Poet's Kitchen at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Maidenhead, 2004/5.

If I have any gigs coming up, I'll post the details on this page.







PERFORMANCE POEMS cunningly converted into web poems - click on titles below to read poems




Mr Snoddy's Body


Da New Bling Dalek Rap


Little Girl


Poetic Justice


Global Warming


With The Dead


Natural Behaviour




SHORT POEMS some of these are very short indeed


If All The World's A Stage


Jack In The Box


Late Night Snack


Middle Age Spread


Shallow Sleeper


House Of The Dead






Clone Poem

(I haven't figured out how to perform this one. Or why)






Haiku x 3












This is the book Small Change, my collection of 52 funny, sad, thought-provoking and surreal poems.

"I like the Haikus" - John Hegley.


If you'd like a copy, e-mail me with your order (go to Contact). Cost: £7 inc. p&p.




No gig news at present...