poetry

Introducing Michael Horovitz

Poet, singer-songwriter, jazz and blues anglo-saxophonist …
“Mike Horovitz is a poet by calling, trade, impulse, habit and anything else you care to mention. Poetry for him is part of life, part of showbiz, part of walking down the street. I can remember him in Oxford in the early 1960s, hair threatening to knock his specs off, declaiming, challenging the audience to realise that Truth and Art were in the very air between them.” (Miles Kington)

An early champion of oral and jazz poetry, whose flamboyant performances have energised every kind of audience on both sides of the Atlantic, Michael Horovitz has been variously described as: “an original poet, with an original voice” (Margaret Drabble); “a Cockney, Albionic, New Jerusalem, Jazz Generation, Sensitive Bard” (Allen Ginsberg); “a dreamer, a maverick … transmedial crusader” (Martin Amis).

He has had to fight, against considerable odds, to continue over 45 years as actor-manager of New Departures, “the most substantial avant-garde magazine in Great Britain” (Times Literary Supplement). Less appreciative voices of the Mandarin establishment claim that Horovitz’s selections and modes of presentation are ‘subversive’. Horovitz himself hopes that this charge is justified: “Subversion usually means change”, he says, “and poetry should change people.”

New Departures was followed by ‘Live New Departures’, and ‘The World’s best Jam’, about which Danah Zohar wrote in Streetlife magazine: “It’s like dropping in on a first-rate party at an old friend’s and finding yourself entertained by a warm, wonderful bunch of incredibly talented troubadours.”

And then came the Poetry Olympics. The Times, having predicted “the jolliest gathering since Babel”, confirmed after the Westminster Abbey launch that “… The Poetry Olympics, hugely enjoyed on a somewhat ad hoc basis, was a sign that poetry is not dying, nor poets.” The Poetry Olympics have taken Horovitz all over the world, his aim being “to join hands, hearts and heads, to communicate and exchange at the grass roots.”

… and visual artist
Michael Horovitz has also experimented with calligraphy, paint, collage and other visual media, and has made prints of his drawings and picture-poems (see shop)

Michael Horovitz is also on Myspace

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Media: Jazz Troubadours Unanimous – Horovitz’s collaborations with Stan Tracey and The William Blake Klezmatrix.

Media: Interview by John May on The Generalist website (halfway down page) – an alternative news, views and culture channel.

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