Poetry Centre

Stephen Hancock

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    I’ve been writing poetry since I was at primary school. Started performing in my late teens, especially inspired by Adrian Mitchell and wandering anarchist-pacifist poet Dennis Gould. After a brief stint as a mid-80s Oxford University undergraduate (I lasted a year - but did get to see Allen Ginsberg perform at St John’s College, so it wasn’t all wasted time), I ran away with the peace movement for a few years before returning to Oxford in the early 90s. I was writing bits and pieces back then but it wasn’t until I discovered the Catweazle Club in the mid-90s that my writing and performing output really took off.

    Self-published my first collection, ‘In between poems’, in 1999, and started performing at festivals (including Glastonbury, the Big Green Gathering, the Glade and Grahamstown, South Africa). Discovered Hammer & Tongue in 2003, and for a few years did my fair share of slamming, including being in the 2004 Oxford Team that took on Birmingham, London and the USA (I went on after six-times US Slam Champion Taylor Mali had just been awarded five perfect tens).

    In recent years have teamed up with local poets Alan Buckley, George Roberts and Joe Butler to put on several shows, and once or twice a year put on poetry and music shows at the Rotunda, Grove House. Very recently created a website for my favourite poems (www.pigandink.com), and this seems to have got my poetic juices flowing once more. Watch this space…

    On a self-trumpeting day, I’d like to describe my work as accessible, playful, political and erotic. I particularly like entertaining people who don’t think that they like poetry. Adrian Mitchell has always been my poet-hero, and I was delighted to finally get to meet with him and perform with him shortly before he died.

    Reviews of Stephen Hancock’s work

    ‘Anarchist poet of the week.’– The Guardian

    ‘Mixes rave-paganism, activism, transvestism,and comic and cosmic wordplay with a dog’s-eye view of the world (go figure).’ – Hammer & Tongue

    ‘A delicious intimate wrangle through the marvellous moistened mangle of life.’ – Matt Sage, Catweazle Club

    Previous publications currently out of print, but updated collected poems, Syzygy: New and Old Poems, is out in June 2012.