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John Gibbens
was born in the Wirral and grew up in West Germany and West Cumbria. He’s lived in London since 1978, and currently earns his bread on ‘Fleet Street’.

His first book from a publishing house (other than his own) is Orpheus Ascending (Smokestack Books, March 2012), a recasting of the myth as a retrofuturistic love story, set in a 1980s that didn’t happen but could have, and still might. (Signed copies available here.)


An Eric Gregory Award in 1982, aged 22.

Intermittent but persistent incursions into the “small magazines”, and occasionally larger ones such as the London Review of Books and The Independent.

Poems in a number of anthologies over the years – e.g. ones devoted to Elvis Presley, Edward Thomas, nuclear arms, the Beatles, the bike and William Blake. (Return to Sender, Elected Friends, Poems for Peace, Things We Said Today, The Art of Bicycling and The William Blake Birthday Book, respectively.)

In 2005, the title poem of the Touched Press pamphlet Sand of the Thames won the Southwark Poet of the Year competition.

Recent anthology appearances are in The Reality Street Book of Sonnets (Reality Street, 2008), Emergency Verse: Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State (The Recusant, 2011) and The Captain’s Tower (Seren, 2011), a gathering of poems to mark Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday.

The Nightingale’s Code, an acclaimed study of Bob Dylan, was published by Touched in October 2001.

Covenant, a set of one-act plays, was produced at the Finborough Theatre in London in 1989 (with Francesca Howell as leading lady, movement directed by Rosemary Lee, stage deisgn by Emma Withers).

He formed The Children with Armorel Weston in the early Nineties and they released their first CD, Play, in 1999. There have been six further albums, the latest being In Memory of Grace (2011). With Armorel and poet/clarinettist David Miller he also plays in The Mind Shop.


At Heaven’s Gate, a William Blake celebration in the Stroud Subscription Rooms
(photograph by Fred Chance)


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