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Some Alternate Poets

And Some Alternate Treatments Of Poetry

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read


When you were at school who liked poetry really? I think I hated Shakespeare but it may just have been the way I was taught and how the works were actually presented to me. I do like a lot of Shakespeare though find some a bit over the top.

Around the time of the English Punk Rock explosion in 1977, Bob Dylan look alike (at the time) John Cooper Clarke came to my attention as a punk poet and I liked what I heard. Around this time also we had dub poets emerging as well.

Although these poets usually read their poems unaccompanied like, often on record they were accompanied by music, and when you think about it most songs are poems set to music, but often poems are just spoken with a musical backing.

Again this is a tiny sample and is just how I have been affected by poets whose work I have come to appreciate, and they have been an influence on me actually writing poetry and appreciating the work of others.

Doctor John Cooper Clarke

I've written about my meeting with John Cooper Clarke and you can read about it at the end of this section. I've included the studio version of his greatest poem "Beasley Street" very grim, with some black humour in there.

In the cheap seats where murder breeds

Somebody is out of breath

Sleep is a luxury they don't need

A sneak preview of death

Often his poems are very humourous, he is also a great comedian as well.

You can read all his poetry for free on his site here.

Here he is live with a funny poem:

And here is a little about a meeting with the man.

Murray Lachlan Young

This is an example of accompanied poetry, essentially the words are read, not sung, giving it a comedic gravitas. The thing is when you listen to a song sometimes you can ignore the lyrics but with a poem you have to take notice.

Kae Tempest

I saw Kate as part of the 6Music Festival at The Sage in Newcastle I love the dynamics of her work and "Don't Fall In" from "Let Them Eat Chaos" is a perfect introduction to her work.

Thank you to Erica Wagner for letting me know that They (Kae Tempest) are now known by that name, but their poetry has always been stunning and always will be.

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Def Poetry Jam presents Linton Kwesi Johnson- "If I was a Top Notch Poet." I was introduced to Johnson listening to John Peel and loved his dub poetry immediately. Ironically he has always been a top-notch poet.

Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Zephaniah reads his poem 'Money' on the hoof in Newcastle city centre (where I now live) , back in 1991. Now even more topical, this poem is from his 1992 Bloodaxe collection CITY PSALMS.

The film is from the Wordworks series of short poem films made by Tyne Tees Television with Bloodaxe Books first shown in May-June 1992 produced by Mark Lavender and directed by Rob Cowley.

Some Unusual Musical Settings Of Conventional Poems

Mundo Jazz - WH Auden’s “Stop All The Clocks”

This is a Vimeo video and not on Youtube so I need to embed it here for you. Mundo Jazz were fronted by my Facebook friend Dan Freeman a comedy writer and playwright, and this take on WH Auden’s solemn piece makes me laugh every time I watch it. I hope you can watch this video in your part of the world because it will make you smile.

Alex Harvey - WH Auden’s “Roman Wall Blues”

Alex Harvey retitled Auden's poem as "Soldier on the Wall" about a Roman soldier being stuck on, probably, Hadrian's Wall, As with all these examples, the words would stand on their own unaccompanied.

The Fall - William Blake’s Jerusalem

Mark E Smith with The Fall takes on William Blake and Hubert Parry's "Jerusalem" live from the 1988 Sadler's Wells Ballet 'I Am Curious, Orange' in London with Michael Clark & Company.

The video is from the classic twenties Russian sci-fi movie 'Aelita'.


This is the tiniest smattering of poets that I love and I may add more in the future. I am also wondering should I add this to the Vocal Beat community, Journal or Poets? I think I will go for poets

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (26)

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  • Anthony Jenningsabout 13 hours ago

    I remember meeting Benjamin Zephanie (spelling error I admit) in the ‘90’s. He was a really nice guy. He told me that he couldn’t read or write when he first started out and just memorized all of his poems. A truly amazing person.

  • Brian Grady2 months ago

    Thanks for the share, I'll be saving this page to look into these poets. You had me at the end of Beasley Street.

  • Georgenes Medeiros2 months ago

    Nice work...

  • Neo Natsu2 months ago

    Excellent poets

  • Erica Wagner2 months ago

    Excellent piece. Love your choices. One note — they are Kae Tempest now.

  • Tracy Willis2 months ago

    Thank you for this!!! I’ve been hooked on alternative poets for decades, starting with my love for Charles Bukowski and lyricists who play like poets. Can’t wait to take a deeper dive into these recommendations. Thanks for sharing! 🤍

  • Awesome Mike 😁

  • David Parham2 months ago

    Interesting information. I'm currently working on a group of poems entitled The MurderVerse. I'd be interested to get your opinion

  • Steve Lance2 months ago

    Mike, thanks for expanding my world. Great article.

  • Madoka Mori2 months ago

    I only discovered The Fall maybe six or seven years ago. Can you imagine being a full adult and suddely happening upon this wealth of incredible music? I listened to nothing else for about a year, I'm not kidding.

  • Gina C.2 months ago

    Congratulations on the top story, Mike! I definitely learned about some new poets here, and I’ll have to check them out further! Thank you so much for the interesting read :)

  • What a great selection of poets, Mike!

  • Fantastic introductions. I look forward to reading more.

  • Chelsea Lynne2 months ago

    Thanks for the recommendations! I wasn’t familiar with most of them and can’t wait to check out more of their work

  • Kendall Defoe2 months ago

    A lot of old favorites and new faces to think about... Bloody Clarke is Bloody Good!

  • Rick Henry2 months ago

    Very interesting compilation of poets, etc. Good job in putting this together.

  • Linda Rivenbark2 months ago

    A wealth of poetry enlightenment. It surely deserves a Top Story slot. I will be coming back to finish listening to each featured poet. Thank you for introducing these poets to us!

  • Dana Stewart2 months ago

    Another thoughtful article. I'm not familiar with most of these but look forward to diving into their work. Congratulations of Top Story!

  • Denise E Lindquist2 months ago

    Thank you💕Congrats on top story🎉🎉🎉

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Interesting piece. Congrats on the top story.

  • Keila Aartila2 months ago

    Great and informative piece, Mike! Congrats on Top Story! :)

  • Judey Kalchik2 months ago

    I always learn new things when I read your articles, Mike!

  • SC Wells2 months ago

    These were wonderful to read and listen to. You’ve introduced some awesome work and have inspired me to read more poetry. I’ve always avoided poetry, and I think I have to blame the school system for that. I hated learning about Seamus Heaney in English (we’d always moan “oh god, not the potato guy again” in class) but now, with some distance of years, I’ve realised he was a fantastic poet and all round great guy.

  • Melissa Ingoldsby2 months ago

    Excellent job here my brother and congratulations on top story

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