John Lyons

John Lyons, winner of the WindRush Arts Achiever Award and Peterloo Poetry Prize, was born in Trinidad and educated as an artist and art educator at Goldsmiths College and the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne respectively.

John is a successful and widely sought-after performer of his work. He has published four poetry collections and contributed to numerous anthologies; his poetry is represented on the Poetry Archive; he has made a contribution to Moving Manchester Writers Gallery; he has read on radio, television and in many festivals; was part-time creative writing lecturer at the then Bolton Institute of Higher Education (now the University of Bolton); became an Arvon tutor; and has been adjudicator for several poetry competitions; was co-founder and director of Hourglass Studio Gallery, promoting the visual arts and Creative writing in the Community.

John Lyons's book Cook-Up In A Trini Kitchen is published by Peepal Tree Press.


‘Most of these poems are made from the tough materials and the tough language of folklore and custom.’ — Roy Fisher

‘The poems are rich … they dance out of the shadows, tricksy with dub and argot … There is colour and heat and vitality.’ — Linda France, Poetry Review

John reading 'Jumbie Jamboree'




Tonight is jumbie jamboree 
in Mucurapo Cemetery 
and what you know, 
there is rum, souse and coconut bread 
and jumbie bawling to wake the dead! 
Ah tell you, is true 
dem jumbies making spree 
drunk in that midnight cemetery, 
and jumbie hugging and kissing jumbie 
doing rude things in a decent country. 
And when the band strike up a leggo, 
boy, the music is hot-hot calypso. 
just listen how the rhythm flow 
as they dance and sing in harmony: 
Back to back, belly to belly, 
we don’t care a damn 
we done dead already;
back to back, belly to belly 
in this jumbie jamboree.

— From No Apples in Eden

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