John Hegley

John Hegley Biography

John Hegley is an English performance poet, comedian, musician and songwriter.

Early Life

He was born in the Newington Green area of Islington, London, England, into a Roman Catholic household. He was brought up in Luton and Bristol. After school he worked as a bus conductor and civil servant before attending the University of Bradford, where he gained a B.Sc. in European Literature and the History of Ideas and Sociology. Hegley has French ancestry (his father's name was René) and claims he is descended from the composer Jean-Philippe Rameau. His paternal grandmother was a dancer with the Folies Bergère.


Hegley began his performing career at London's Comedy Store in 1980, and received national exposure when he appeared with his backing band the Popticians on Carrott's Lib in 1983, and recorded two sessions for John Peel in 1983 and 1984. Hegley published his first poetry collection, Visions of the Bone Idol (Poems about Dogs and Glasses), pieces from which were later incorporated into Glad to Wear Glasses, in 1984. Hegley has written a number of collections of poetry, ranging from the surreal through the humorous to the personal and emotional. There are a number of recurring themes in his poems, notably glasses, dogs and reminiscences of his childhood in Luton.

He was presenter of the Border Television series Word of Mouth - in which numerous contemporary poets performed their work - in 1990, and the BBC radio series Hearing with Hegley from 1996 to 1999. His other television appearances include Wogan and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. In 1998, Hegley's poem "Malcolm" came second in a BBC survey to find Britain's most popular comic poem.[6] In 1999 he starred in a Simon Callow-directed revival of the musical The Pajama Game in London's West End. Hegley frequently performs live and is a regular at the Edinburgh Festival. His stage act includes elements of poetry, music (he plays the mandolin and is often accompanied by a double bassist), comedy and Luton Town Football Club. He also likes to utilise audience participation in his shows, for example by having a dog drawing competition during the interval, or by asking his audience to try writing poetry themselves.

The University of Luton awarded him an honorary LL.D. in 2000, and he has also led creative writing courses at the university.

Hegley launched "Warning: May Contain Nuts", a project using comedy to increase awareness of mental illness. He performed these shows in 2010 with other performers, including comic Mackenzie Taylor, talking about mental illness.

The Best Poem Of John Hegley

Love Poem By My Dog

I saw you in the park
I wanted to be your friend
I tunnelled my snout
up your non-barking end

John Hegley Comments

jeffy marsden 11 December 2017

hiiiiiyyyyyy how yaa doin laaa

2 10 Reply
lee smith 11 December 2017

hi therrrrr my name is jeff

2 10 Reply
luke shelton 24 May 2018

hello boys ;) im single snapchat me: lukeshelton230 rawr XD

4 8 Reply
jeffy marsden 11 December 2017

hiiiiiyyyyyy how ya doing laaa

1 9 Reply
Chloe 14 April 2019

These comments below are very unnessecary but I think that John Henley is a very good poet but is not very well known by most people.

3 2 Reply
Krissie heatley 27 March 2022

Hi new here u ok to give me some advice? thanks

0 0 Reply 14 December 2021

Hey John, check out our awards if you're interested. Fees are waived this year : )

0 0 Reply
Francis ngwenya 29 July 2019

I love e way he plays with words

0 0 Reply
deadt 30 May 2019


0 1 Reply
cheriee 21 April 2019

I love the humour and just plain fun in Hegley's poetry.

2 0 Reply

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