Catch Up with Mister John and his Poetry Cafe

By Mel Haagman


This month Mel caught up with Mister John who runs the Poetry Café. A platform for local poets to present their work to an appreciative audience, in a relaxed café environment! Here’s what she found out! Why not check out the poetry café on Facebook to keep up to date with events! facebook.com/poetrycafeugt/


Mel: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?


John: Mister John is of course my stage name and in real life I am John Myers, retired social worker and very amateur poet. I am 82 but luckily still fairly fit. Lived in Warwickshire for 36 years and moved to Eastbourne 7 years ago


Mel: How did the poetry cafe start?


John: It started 5 years ago under the aegis of the community run Underground Theatre as part of its spoken word strand with the ethos of being open to all without an entrance fee


Mel: Why did you want to create this group and event?


John: I had a bucket list on our move to a new place far away. On that list was to find a poetry Open Mic and if I failed then to start one. I also belong to a poetry group as I did before, but I feel there is something special about an Open Mic. Every session is unpredictable and unique and often dynamic, and, as someone said last night, you get to air your poems but there is no discussion or criticism just applause


Mel: How would you describe your own style of writing?


John: A mish mash, objetstrouvés, unpolished, different styles, forms, freeform, genres but always something of myself except perhaps when writing for an occasion


Mel: Who is your favourite poet?


John: In view of my last answer it will be no surprise that it varies from time to time and mood to mood. Today I will go for Homer


Mel: Have you written more during lockdown?


John: Not really and not so well when I have, though the BLM movement has been spurring


Mel: Best show you’ve been watching during lockdown?


John: I have watched a lot of theatre and films that I would not have done otherwise. “Small Axe” looks like being really good


Mel: What is your favourite poem that you’ve written?


John: A verse play about Theseus, The Minotaur, and Ariadne. That was an undertaking!


Mel: Do you have any upcoming events?


John: Yes, once a month and maybe some online additional events during this age of covid constraints


N.B. The Underground Theatre folded, sadly, 18 months ago, but it has re-opened under new management as The Grove Theatre and we have been welcomed back there

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