Testing the lights and trying the mic in the newly refurbished Poetry Café comes John Hegley with a projected exhibition of dogs, birds and tortoises, and poetic words on Wordsworth, Keats and Mary Magdalene’s handbag. Mainly in English, but some singing in French and paper-folding.
All profits from ticket sales go to the café refurbishment fund: there’s just a few more fancy lightbulbs to purchase before our target is hit.
Performance poet John Hegley was born in 1953 in Newington Green, Islington. He grew up in Luton and was educated at Bradford University, where he studied Literature and Sociology. He has worked as a bus conductor in Bristol, and in children’s theatre in London.
His collections include Glad to Wear Glasses (1990), Can I Come Down Now Dad (1991) and Dog (2000). He has published a volume of verse for children, My Dog is a Carrot (2002). In 2008 he coedited an anthology of poetry for young people, The Ropes: Poems To Hold On To, with Sophie Hannah. His most recent collections are Peace, Love and Potatoes (2012), New & Selected Potatoes (2013) and I am a Poetato (2013).
John Hegley has also released his own CD of songs and poetry, ‘Saint and Blurry’, and collaborated with Robyn Hitchcock as John Hegley and The Popticians.
In 2000 he received an honorary Arts Doctorate from Luton University, where he has also let creative writing classes. Hegley launched “Warning: May Contain Nuts”, a project using comedy to increase awareness of mental illness. He performed these shows in 2010 with other performers, including comic Mackenzie Taylor, talking about mental illness.