Poets pay tribute to Jazzman John Clarke 1948-2018

Tributes have been paid to Jazzman John Clarke, a lovely man and regular performer at the Poetry Cafe and on the London poetry scene.

“JC will leave a large hole in my life, a man who I admire, enjoy, love and will miss massively. London has also lost a pivot and a key connector, a unique character who was the glue between so many different nights and performers. The impact of Jazzman JC John Clarke (this is the name he was originally known by) will probably only now be truly recognised that he is on his forward journey. Until our next meeting Jazzman.” John Mckiernan

Jazzman Joihn Clarke was a well known and loved figure on London’s poetry scene. He always made an impression when he took to the stage at Poetry Unplugged. He shall be greatly missed.” Niall O’Sullivan

“I have only just heard about this… a sad end to a lovely day. RIP Jazzman John Robert Clarke. We didn’t bump into each other that often but he was so supportive to me early on in my feeble attempts at writing and trying to sing narrative songs. He was a one-off and much later on I found out how loved and revered he was by so many all over London. Fond memories of those tall lighthouse poetry evenings in Lewisham a long time ago. Fiery venerable bebop performance poets are rare beasts… they may now be mythical. RIP mate.” Jack Hayter

“More than anyone else i’ve ever known, Jazzman John embodied the spirit of poetry. John‘s whole life was his most beautiful poem. RIP (rest in poetry, John).”  David Lee Morgan

“London just lost Legendary Jazzman Clarke, poet and outstanding performer. A notable member of GFMA 😢😢😢. Jazzman at 70+ your age was as great as your wisdom breaking age barriers, your words were so creatively crafted and knotted in your emotions with gestures that connected with your audience. We shared many wonderful moments and you desired a day JAZZ MEETS POETRY, words on beats in different styles which bathed the Album “FOR SALE” which sadly we didn’t finish. The interesting thing was that you insisted you wanted to finish your part and perfect the rhymes which you did before the overdubs. It is so shocking that you have gone without saying goodbye, nevertheless your legendary work will continue and live forever.” Ebenezer Oke

“I performed with him a couple times a few years back, he taught me a lot … Took time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts, critique and wisdom with me when no one else had the time. Encouraged me to keep writing and pursuing my creative literary leanings. This guy is a legend. So sad to hear of his passing. His memory will be honoured.” Kwesi Yvorra

“Just woke up this morning to hear that one the true pioneers and elders of our modern London poetry scene, Jazzman John Robert Clarke has sadly passed away. A truly talented, generous, supportive and encouraging human being, whom I met at my very first poetry performance in Lewisham over 17 years ago. A lovely friend, fellow Lewisham poet, passionate performer and someone I would often give a drop home after gigs. Very sad to hear his news. Thank you for all that did, not just for me but a numerous amount of poets, based on the beautiful tributes. Rest In Eternal Peace.” Patricia Foster McKenley

“London lost a golden-hearted technicolour wonder poet this weekend and I lost a very dear friend.” Jasmine Pender

“I have just heard of the death of  ‘Jazzman’ John Robert Clarke. A true character, always true to his character. The world will be a less colourful place without his presence. A real loss to the world of poetry & spoken word. An old and true friend, always a delight to be with, I shall miss seeing him and hearing him perform.” Derek Adams

“This week the London poetry scene lost a legend. Jazzman John Robert Clarke was an important part of our Y-Tuesday Poetry club and of so many other great poetry scenes around London -So often performing and so often ready to discuss words, rhymes and poetry, and always full of support to me when I first started out performing poetry in English. So sad to hear of his sudden death.” Line Hassall Thomsen

“Really sad to hear of the passing of poet jazzman John Robert Clarke , who was one of the warmest sweetest people I ever met on the spoken word scene, or indeed any other performance scene, I have ever been part of . His book has moved to many cities with me . Rest in peace xx” Paula Varjack

“When I first started going to poetry gigs I remember meeting John Robert Clarke and being so hugely impressed by the glorious joy of his poems. Over time it also became apparent that he was also just a really lovely friendly person. I shall ever fondly remember the time my mum came to a gig with me and he had a lovely conversation with her about eating Bimbis chips by the river in my hometown Durham. Rest well dear Jazzman xxx.” Ceri May

“Jazzman John, was a legend of the live spoken word scene in London, whose life and works straddled generations and epochs. He survived a career in banking to become one of Lewisham’s most beloved poetic sons. He once made me blush with a poem about me, and belatedly I return the favour, unfortunately posthumously… in my eyes he will forever be ‘a beat who will be missed’” Mark Mr T Thompson

“The ball of my breath froze in my throat as I heard my best friend, British Poet Jazzman John Robert Clarke has passed away in London, suddenly I have to sit down and rethink — how cruel can life be, after 5 years I was planning to finally meet him this year and work on his dream visit to New York City.” Yuyutsu Sharma

“Farewell John Robert Clarke. Always magic, I’ll miss you.” Emma Hammond

6 August 2018