Forget comedy, try poetry

Thursday, 21st July

Michael Rosen_credit Dave Stelfox

Michael Rosen. Photo: Dave Stelfox

THIS is the year of poetry. Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a growth of interest in poetry. After three years of lockdown and restrictions, people want live entertainment. And they want something different. Comedy is often very predictable. People are looking for something new.

A series of new venues have been set up with names such as Paper Tiger Poetry and Play On Words in south London. And outside of the capital there are venues such as Raise the Bar in Bristol.

One of the biggest venues is the Poetry Shack, in Islington, which regularly gets an audience of more than 100 people. In May it had Will Self, in March it had Henry Normal (who co-produced Gavin and Stacey) as well as the poet Lemn Sissay, who popped in to do an open mike slot.

On July 26 it will be featuring Michael Rosen. Michael Rosen is internationally famous for his children’s poetry, but he’ll be tacking some more serious subjects at the Poetry Shack

The scene is getting extremely lively. There are controversial poets such Salena Godden and Violet Malice, who are very funny and very filthy. They cover such subjects as having sex in carparks and bondage sessions. And there are some who are tremendously amusing names such as Rob Garnham and Jude Simpson, who specialise in the absurd and often break into song. Other notables include Lee Campbell – who talks about LGBT issues and his dog.

And there is Lou Mcstravick who draws on her Caribbean background in her book How to Make Curry Goat.

Jack Shamash, who runs The Poetry Shack, explained: “We’re getting good crowds and lots of regulars. It’s creative, very accessible and it’s different. I think people are sick of seeing things online. And they are tired of big name comedians who are becoming quite predictable. There’s a huge variety of poets. Some of them are very keen to build a following. Others are just in it for a laugh. And it’s always entertaining.”

Michael Rosen and Jude Simpson will be at the Poetry Shack on July 26. The event will be held at the Candid Arts Centre just behind Angel station. Tickets are £8 from

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