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About Justin


I am a performance poet with appeal for both children and adults, on a mission to reconnect poetry with people and people with poetry.

Since 1997, I have taken my lively mix of puckish poetics and heartfelt humour everywhere from Sheppey to Shanghai and from The Savoy Hotel to street corners, steam trains and a sitting room made entirely out of newspaper. 

Having cut my teeth as compere of an open-mike poetry platform in Hastings and as host and co-ordinator of Don't Feed the Poets!, one of the south coast's longest running spoken word cabarets, my work remains rooted in community and eductional settings. Along the way I have worked with thousands of adults and young people, teamed up with a host of brilliant organisations like Apples and Snakes, Glyndebourne Opera and Dyslexia Action and shared stages with such diverse talents as Stewart Lee, John Hegley and Four Poofs and A Piano. 

I love all sorts of writing. At 18, my first paid  job was as a football reporter on my local paper (Deal Town 3 Kent Police 0), but these days I enjoy creating and performing funny, accessible, rhyming verse with a compassionate social commentary. This, together with my generous sense of the silly, has made me popular as a performer and workshop facilitator with young people in many schools and libaries across the UK.

In recent years, I have been concentrating on full length family shows. The Dictionary of Dads, focuses on children's experience of fatherhood, while My Creepy Crawly Story House is an interactive show about bugs, mini-beasts and fantastical creatures, suitable for younger children. I also collaborated with fellow poets Rosie Harris and Sophie Rose on "One Way Ticket", a boat based performance piece on the plight of post-war British child migrants, who were shipped across the world to Australia.

The first poem I had professionally published (The "Lost Poem" in the book "The Secret Life of Pants", A & C Black) was distinguished for having no words in it whatsoever! Since then many more of my poems (even some with lots of words in) have found their way into a variety of children's poetry anthologies. These publications include "The Jumble Book" (Macmillan/edited Roger Stevens), the title of which derives from my one man show exploring my dyslexia. A fusion of performance poetry, comedy, illustration, animation, music and theatre, "The Jumble Book" show was nominated for Best Children's Event at the 2010 Brighton Festival. 

Like many writers and performers, I have also had lots of other jobs. Paperboy, Oral Historian, Social Care Worker, Artsmark Assesor, Shop Assistant, Creative Learning Manager and many more. But performing and sharing my passion for poetry with others is what I like doing best. 

I live in Southend and these days spend much of my spare time being a Dad. On a good day on Southend beach,  I can just make out Gillingham, the home of my favourite football team! 


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