Waterloo Press

John O’Donoghue 

John O’Donoghue is the author of two pamphlets, Letter To Lord Rochester (Waterloo Press, 2004) and The Beach Generation (Pighog Press, 2007). His memoir, Sectioned, was acquired at auction by John Murray and will be published in Spring 2009.

Brunch Poems (2009)


Often, on Brighton beach at midnight, as the moon casts her searchlight onto the restless sea below, illuminating the lovers on the deserted strand, this poet will stroll to some night-time café to doodle his thoughts on a napkin and by the break of dawn come home, a poem in his pocket, to sleep the morning away and go out once more for brunch, his favourite meal, and face again the day and the night coming in from the shore.

Brunch Poems celebrates the seaside town of Brighton and the coastal delights of beaches, boats, and sunshine in a striking first collection. Divided into The White Book and The Blue Book – a reference to Max Miller’s famous clean and saucy joke books – Brunch Poems explores the tensions between craft and inspiration, between coast and shore, between Brighton and Hove.


Presided over by the tutelary spirits of Max Miller and Frank O’Hara, the New York poet and curator of Abstract Expressionism, Brunch Poems moves between Time and Eternity to arrive at a gloriously funny apotheosis, The Book of Genesis redone by a Kemp Town interior decorator.

With affectionate sketches of Brighton luminaries such as Lee Harwood, the late Brian Behan, Bernadette Cremin, Brendan Cleary, Lorna Thorpe and Jackie Wills, Brunch Poems offers a shimmering vision of this ‘City by the Sea’ in a collection that is lyrical, tender, and deeply moving.

Brunch Poems celebrates the city of Brighton by saluting the midnight revellers in late night bars, the clubbers strolling along the strand, the early risers and late to bed of Brighton’s seaside cafés and briny pubs. In The White Book and The Blue Book O’Donoghue does what the best poets do: he creates a world. Bridget Whelan, author of A Good Confession

His rhymes have an attractively Byronic quality about them. 
Glyn Pursglove, Acumen, reviewing Letter To Lord Rochester

Letter to Lord Rochester (2004)

ISBN 1-902731-23-9

Written over twenty-one days of the Iraqi invasion and its immediate aftermath, Letter to Lord Rochester is an attempt to update Auden's 1936 Letter to Lord Byron.

Sent to another camp, witty artisto, O'Donoghue's epistle is by turns sombre, comic, personal and public. A tour de force of tightly-rhymed observations and witticisms on the Iraq debacle and modern life in general, with vivid snapshots of the Brighton shoreline and the town's outlying pleasure gardens, the poem delights in a delicious 'end of the peer' humour.

It is a much-needed response to an issue on which Britain's poets have been strangely silent.

Make no mistake about O'Donoghue's achievement and wit. Only Glynn Maxwell is capable of a tour de force of his stature, a rhyme spre that wheels and never ends
Simon Jenner

Soft, strong and thoroughly absorbing
Alan Morrison

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