This is Steve Micalef…

Stephen Micalef’s 60th birthday at the Palace.

He is the greatest poet in London. He may not be the best poet in London but he is undoubtedly the greatest. He has never had any aspirations to be either, he has gone out of his way to be neither.

He hasn’t wasted time or money entering competitions, he would never consider submitting careful rewrites to magazines or bother typing up laboured manuscripts for publishers. These pursuits are petty and pointless, contradictory to everything poetry, in its rawest form, represents. Micalef is a purest. His is a life given entirely to the grubby art of rearranging words on a page and growling them at whatever audience happens to gather before him.

He has won no awards, received no nominations, been proposed for no prizes. He isn’t the darling of the lit fest circuit nor the toast of the (small p, small s) poetry society and despite this, and in part because of it, he is the greatest poet in London.

I lived with him in Brixton in the mid 90’s toward the end of his ten year tenure running the Brixton Poets – the only free, weekly poetry night in the city. I would say I served my apprenticeship under him. Back then he made little of his contribution to the legendary Sniffin’ Glue magazine. While his mate Danny Baker had made strides into mainstream media he was still happily stapling our handmade Brixton Poets’ House pamphlet (later The Concessionary) together and giving it away in pubs for nothing.

Steve wrote every day. I’m sure he still does. He’d be up at six and done by nine when he’d knock on my door to read me his morning’s output. Steve wrote fast and fearlessly. Each piece firing and misfiring simultaneously. Although he is the greatest poet in London, Steve doesn’t always write great poetry. His greatness is in that everything he writes is poetry. Every unqualified cough and imperfect croak is a poem. While the rest of us are tightly transcribing Arts Council Grants in iambic pentameter Steve Micalef is gargling turpentine and lighting it.

Milan in May

SWAN - On Tour

13 maggio – Festival Internazionale di Poesia di Milano – MUDEC, Via Tortona, 56, 20144 Milano – 19:20 h
15 maggio – The Swan – Piazzale Loreto, 9, 20100 Milano – (prestazioni private) 19:30 h
16 maggio Teatro Filodrammatici – Via Filodrammatici, 1, 20121 Milano – 19:15 h

My Name Is Swan

A film by Adam Carr, music by Samuel Kilcoyne & Takatsuna Mukai, a poem by Jan Noble. An odyssey of loss in a shifting cityscape, a testament of endurance with the river at its centre…

watch the trailer now


My Name is Swan is a short film that seeks to address the growing social and economic disparity in the modern city. Shot in stunning black and white its poetry will be found in its varied tones. We aim to make a work that is both beautiful and moving as well as poignant and probing.

My Name is Swan will describe a 24 hour journey across London with the river at its centre. An odyssey of loss in a changing city landscape through which the narrator, ‘Swan’, drifts. It will give voice to social exclusion, addiction, pollution, loneliness and the metropolitan malaise.

My Name is Swan portrays an individual desperately clinging to an identity yet resisting prevailing narratives. He may be pushed to the fringes, to the edges of both the city and of his own sanity, but he refuses to be marginalised.

My Name is Swan may well have hiss in its beak but it will have elegance in its feathers. It will be a story of triumph over adversity as ‘Swan’, kicking against troubled currents, some of his own making, emerges to ride out the tide into another day.

Where will my contributions go?

30% Post-Production and Editing
30% Production and Shooting
15% Musical Composition and Recording
10% Equipment hire and purchase
5% Grading and Submission Fees
10% of funds will be donated to the mental health charity Core Arts

Core Arts is London based charity set up to support and promote recovery, social inclusion and mental wellbeing through the arts.

We need to raise £7000 in order to complete our project. We are looking to raise half of the funds through this platform. The more we raise here, the more we can donate to Core.

The Team

Adam Carr – Director, Producer
Samuel Kilcoyne – Composer, musician
Takatsuna Mukai – Musician, arranger
Jan Noble – Poet, performer
Alison Poltock – Associate producer
Don Mousseau – Artist development

Click the logo below to support…


“My name is Swan…”

Ahead of live soundtrack events this spring with Samuel Kilcoyne & Takatsuna Mukai and the premier of Adam Carr’s film “My Name is Swan” at this summer’s East End Film Festival, I’m giving a series of pop-up readings at venues across Europe.

Many thanks to Michele Alessandrini for these photos from Ravaletto in Ancona and to Paolo Visci & Federico Pesciarelli for organising events in Italy.

View the trailer for “My Name Is Swan” 

“Mi chiamo Cigno…”

Ahead of the film “My Name is Swan” by Adam Carr and live soundtrack events this spring and summer with Samuel Kilcoyne & Takatsuna Mukai, I’m doing a few readings in Europe. On Friday I performed in Pescara, Italy. Tonight I’ll be at Ravaletto, Piazza Del Plebiscito 48, Ancona at 8pm.

“My Name Is Swan” will premiere at the 2017 East End Film Festival.

Poem for January

Each month I’ll be publishing new poems on postcards and leaving them at various locations.

January’s poem is available to read online now.

I’ll be sending them out in the post too. I’ll be shredding any that are left over.

If you want me to send you a postcard, become a patron on Patreon for little more than the price of a first class stamp and I’ll send you one every month.

This is what I wanted to give you…

This is beyond fantastic. If you like Scott Walker’s Plastic Palace People this will make your head swivel off your shoulders.  – Cathi Unsworth

This setting of poetry by Jan Noble is a new song cycle from Donna McKevitt, the youngest contemporary composer to have her opus number one, Translucence, released on a major classical label. Her settings of Derek Jarman’s poetry were received with exceptional critical acclaim.

McKevitt makes beauty out of grief – EVENING STANDARD

A secular Stations of the Cross – THE TIMES

A contemporary ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’. Record of The Month – GRAMOPHONE

A moving evocation of love and loss – CLASSIC CD

‘This is what I wanted to give you…’ The brand new EP from McKevitt & Noble



CD & Vinyl




I’ve got two records coming out this month. One at the beginning of October, another at the end. The first is Swan. A poetic monologue that I’ll be reading at every Swan pub in London.  It features a bonus track, Munras, Pearl & Tyler, read by Zina Rohan and based on the affair between poets Elizabeth Smart and George Barker as outlined in their respective books By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept and The Dead Seagull. Swan is available as a CD and digital download on iTunes from the 6th October. Pre-Order on Amazon now or buy a copy from me at one of the shows.

The White Swan, Fetter Lane, 4th Oct, 7pm
The White Swan, Twickenham, 5th Oct, 7pm
The Swan Hotel, Staines, 6th Oct, 7pm
The Swan Inn, Isleworth, 8th Oct, 2pm
The Swan, Wimbledon, 10th Oct, 7pm
The White Swan, Victoria, 11th Oct, 7pm
The White Swan, Covent Garden, 12th Oct, 7pm
The Mute Swan, Hampton Court, 13th Oct, 7pm
The White Swan, Aldgate, 17th Oct, 7pm
The Old Swan, Kensington, 18th Oct, 7pm
The White Swan & Cuckoo, Wapping, 20th Oct, 7pm
The White Swan, Islington, 27th, 7pm