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1001 Guillemot K Mitch Hodge
Added on 11th September 2020

Poet John Hegley

Animals Funny

Meet the Guillemot.


Sustainable, self-restrainable bird Guillemot discusses his love for diving deep, sleeping rough and scoffing fish.

Why we chose it

This poem brings the character to life through incredible word play and audience participation. The ancient tradition of oral story used actions and rhyme to remember, and this is a great example from modern day!

John Hegley is one of the UK’s most popular comic poets and a firm favourite with children.

Where it came from

Born in North London in 1953, he worked as a bus conductor and a civil servant before going to university. Having busked on the streets of first Hull and then London, he performed on the stand-up comedy circuit as a solo performer and as part of the band The Popticians. His poem Guillemot is often performed live and was first published in his collection I am a Poetato (2014).

Where it went next

Hegley is a regular fixture at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where his shows consistently sell-out to rave reviews. His surreal nonsense poetry has gained him a cult following, and he can often be heard performing it on BBC radio to music he has composed himself. He has also published ten books, including verse, prose, and drama, some of which he has also illustrated. He has even published a book consisting solely of photos of potatoes.

Associated stories

Hegley has published several other books, including Glad to Wear Glasses (1990) and My Dog is a Carrot (2002).

Peter the Parrot is another great performance poem, a gem of a story, using the classic trope of the victory of the underdog, told with John Hegley’s inimitable humour and awesome rhyming and wordplay.

Added on 11th September 2020

Poet John Hegley

Animals Funny