SAMUEL Taylor Coleridge once said that prose is “words in their best order”, but poetry is “the best words in the best order”.

And Dr John Cooper Clarke, professional poet, believes this too – and that those words have to rhyme of course.

John shot to prominence in the 1970s as the original ‘people’s poet’. But he realised his love for poetry from the age of 12 - it was something he was good at.

Being part of a group called The Chaperones, John nominated himself to be the lyricist.

After a few songs the group didn’t get far but John was left with a lot of left over lyrics, so he decided to use them in the way he knew best – through poetry.

He said: “I always intended to be professional – quite how I didn’t know.

“I had a few friends who went to Art College for commercial art and I thought there might be space in that area for poetry.”

“Most people were discouraging but I was convinced that if you achieved a certain level of expertise, then you could become the go-to-guy. I definitely saw a future in the jingles for adverts.”

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Modern poetry was never something John enjoyed – his style is much more old school, more traditional.

What sets him apart from his other poets, is his passion for rhyming.

He said: “What makes it a poem if it doesn’t rhyme? Why resist against something that is musical? Why rebel against tradition? I just give the people what they want.”

John’s poetry is not issue-led, and it is not always about a contemporary issue, but his style does change dependent on the poem.

“Everyday life changes all the time and my poetry changes at the same pace, with each new social phenomena” John added.

Although traditional, John’s poetry has now been included on national curriculum syllabus and he has a huge affect on modern music.

He has collaborated with the Artic Monkeys and Plan B, resulting in two recent global number one albums, with The Arctic Monkeys putting one of John’s best loved poems, I Wanna Be Yours, to music on their critically acclaimed A:M album.

For most of his life, John has written and recited poetry to make a living. Since 1976, public readings of his poetry had been his only source of income.

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Yet in 2010, he finally got someone to represent him and has now recently released another anthology – The Luckiest Guy Alive.

“I love performing still” he said. “This is the most important part of poetry, it is an aural thing – it is so much better when you hear it.

“Things stop being fun when they become your profession.

“There is a right way and a wrong way to write poetry I think and sometimes it can be a struggle. The most fun I have is the live gigs.

“I don’t know what keeps me writing, you would have to pay me to stop.”

Now, John is touring the world with his latest show – The Luckiest Guy Alive – which is a mix of classic verse, extraordinary new material, hilarious ponderings on modern life, good honest gags, riffs and chat.

He added: “My show is exactly the same as it always has been, I haven’t added any special effects – it is just me. One man, one microphone and lots of poetry.

“What I do hasn’t changed in 10,000 years.

“Poetry, like all art, is useless. If no one wrote poetry again, the world wouldn’t change.”

Dr John Cooper Clarke will be at The Tropicana in Weston-super-Mare on December 2 at 7:30pm. To book or to find out more visit

For more information about Dr John Cooper Clarke visit