ByLaura Fernandez-Kayne 

Eastbourne poetry fans were given a treat on Wednesday 8 June, with the appearance of Brighton-based award-winning poet John McCullough at this month’s Poetry Café at Printers Playhouse in Little Chelsea.

The Poetry Café, hosted by Mr John, provides a lively and informal atmosphere for poetry fans. Each month the café welcomes a guest poet as well as plenty of open-mic slots. and writers, where anyone is welcomed up on stage to read their own work, beginners or advanced, old or young, in a warm and supportive atmosphere.

The crowd in Printers Playhouse was packed to standing room only as around twenty keen poets stepped up to share in the open mic slots, and with the lively atmosphere of the Printers Playhouse bar, this was a poetry night full of fun and creativity. Poems covered a range of topics, even a song, from Shakespeare to wildflowers, growing up, the government, spring, and fantastical journeys.

Then John McCullough was welcomed as guest poet, reading from his new book ‘Panic Response’. He is the author of several poetry collections, and his 2019 book ‘Reckless Paper Birds’ has recently won the 2020 Hawthornden prize for literature, awarded for overall best UK book of the year.

His new book was written during the Covid-19 pandemic and reflects on lockdown, mental health, the ‘panic response’ to the pandemic, and our changing times. He read with passion, humour, warm and fun.

Next month’s Poetry Café is on 13 July.