Former Local Returns to Herne Hill To Hear Son's Poetry Recited on 'Home Turf'

Former Poet’s Corner resident, Joanna Brown says that hearing her son’s poetry recited to a Herne Hill audience for the first time, in an event to celebrate and memorialise his life will be an exciting but poignant moment for her. 

The reading on Thursday 16th August, 7.45pm is the first public airing in Herne Hill of a new book of Alexander 'King' Paul’s poetry, ‘Climbing Clouds Chasing Comets’, published in June (and available at Herne Hill Books). 

Alexander, a Warwick University undergraduate studying Politics and International Studies was a talented poet and spoken word performer.  His poetry shows wisdom far beyond his young years and according to broadcaster, Afua Hirsch delves into “the mind of a writer whose talent fizzes on the page.”

Alexander reached his pinnacle when he was invited to speak on social justice issues at the Conservative Party Conference. Introducing the then Home Secretary, Theresa May in 2014, he was given a standing ovation. Tragically afterwards, he succumbed to brain cancer in what would have been his graduation year.  Hearing of his passing aged 21 in 2017, the Prime Minister paid tribute to him in her keynote speech at last year's party conference. 

On introducing the book to Herne Hillers, Joanna said: “I’m looking forward to talking about my son and the issues he was so passionate about in the place where I’ve called ‘home’.  I have fond memories of Poet’s Corner where I grew up and of Herne Hill Baptist Church where my parents were members and where my father was baptised. Even now, my best friend lives on Delawyk Crescent so I feel very at home in Herne Hill.” 

“Herne Hill has changed over the years but it has always been a place where creativity is encouraged and where togetherness between young and old, black and white thrive. I’m really looking forward to hearing my son’s poetry being read on my ‘home turf’ so-to-speak.”

Alexander’s poetic themes include his observations and portraits on family life, love and sensuality, friendship, homelessness, loneliness in a big metropolis and the issues associated with depression and mental health affecting young adults. His searing honesty on ‘hidden’ mental health issues appears in his poems and speeches. Joanna has picked up the mantle by helping young people express themselves creatively through poetry and the arts.

She said: “Much of Alexander’s poetry allows one to peer into the minds of young people, especially males to understand how they can often appear to be functioning well on the outside but harbour deep emotions that can lead to depression as they try to cope with the metamorphosis of maturing into a young adult.”

Joanna hopes her son’s autobiography and book of poems will inspire and encourage readers of all ages and backgrounds to seek out poetry.

The evening will feature Joanna’s favourite poem written by Alexander, ‘I AM LOVE’, which she saw him perform at Warwick Arts Centre backed by an orchestra and 40-strong choir. 

“That poem shows how powerful love is and how the world cannot function without it. I’m looking forward to hearing it recited again by a performance poet next week – it will be a very proud moment for me.”    

Joanna will answer questions and sign copies of ‘Climbing Clouds...’ on the night.  Book sales on the night and all proceeds from the sale of a special cocktail that Alexander enjoyed will go to The Alexander Paul Organisation. 

Date: Thursday 16th August 2018, 7.45pm (Doors open: 6pm)  Venue: Park’s Edge Bar & Kitchen

Tickets:  FREE from