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John Hegley Biography | Poet

Photo of John Hegley

John Richard Hegley a well-known English performing poet was born on 1st of October, 1953. He was born in Islington, London, England in a small area known as Newington Green. He was raised in a Roman Catholic home. He was later raised in Luton for a few years and later moved to Bristol. In Bristol, he pursed his education and attended Rodway School. Before venturing into poetry, he undertook his studies and supported himself by taking a part time job as a bus conductor. Later, he started to work as a civil servant until he joined the University of Bradford where he pursued a BSc in European Literature and the History of Ideas and Sociology.

Building His Career

It was in the year 1890 that John Hegley had a taste of what comedy has to offer. His first performing act was in London’s comedy store. He toured with the Brown Paper Bag Brothers, which helped him to gain some exposure. With his backing band, Popticians, he was able to make national recognition after their performance in 1983 on Carrott’s Lib. In the year 1983 and 1984, the band recorded two sessions for John Peel.

In 1984, he went all the way and published his first poetry collection which included Visions of the Bone Idol which were poems relating to dogs and glasses. This publication received a warm welcome. Some pieces of his first publication were later used in his other publication, Glad to Wear Glasses. From this point, he ventured into other genres of poetry where he started to write extensively. There are several publications ranging from emotional to personal poems. Despite the diversity in his works, he majorly rotated around themes in relation to glasses, dogs, or his early life while in Luton.

Over the years, he was able to feature in a number of television programs and appearances. In the series, Word of Mouth, he acted as the presenter in which many other contemporary poets were able to perform their pieces as an inspiration to each other and the rest of the society in the year 1990. Between the years of 1996 and 1999, John hosted the BBC radio series commonly known as Hearing with Hugley. He did not stop at this, he made more television appearances such as Wogan and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He also starred in the musical, The Pajama Game, which was a Simon Callow directed revival which was in London West End.

In the year 1999, one of his poems, Malcom, made it to second position in BBC’s survey that was seeking to find the best comic poem in Britain. In the same year, he collaborated with Simon Munnery, featured in a comedy series, The Adventures of John and Tony, where he wrote and performed for BBC Radio 4.

John is also known to perform live performances and if you are looking to trace him, he is a regular at the Edinburg Festival. While on stage, he will grace you with poetry as well as music. While performing music, he is good with the mandolin and to ensure that you receive the best, he works together with a double bassist. He also incorporates comedy in his pieces of work. He is interactive and likes to motivate other people during his shows to take on what they love to do. This even gets to the point where he will ask the audience to try to write their own pieces of poetry.

His Achievements

Hegley received an honorary LL.D from the University of Luton in the year 2002. He went ahead and took creative writing courses as a lecturer. Later in 2010, he launched a project that has the objective of creating awareness on mental illness. He called the project, Warning: May Contain Nuts. The idea was to incorporate comedy while at the same time ensure that the message is passed on.  

John Hegley: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes