Hugging Poet John Horder Passes Away Aged 80 – Poetry News 9th August

The hugging poet, John Horder, has sadly passed away at the age of 80. John’s favourite saying, Meher Baba’s maxim “don’t worry, be happy,” couldn’t sum him up better. In fact, it was his interest in the teachings of Baba, the Indian mystic, which led to his association as the hugging poet. It came about as Horder referred to Meher Bab as a ‘hugging genius.’

John was the son of Ernest and Molly Horder. He was born in Brighton, and suffered tragedy from a very young age when his mother passed away. He was just 12-years-old at the time. His brother, who was only four when Molly passed, said it “had a marked effect on the rest of [their] lives.” Their father sent John to St Paul’s school in West London. As his brother puts it:
In the end, John went onto study English at Selwyn College, Cambridge. Then, in 1966, his first collection of poems was released:
poem . The reception was incredible, and John won two well-deserved Arts Council awards as a result.

He then went onto publish

poem followed by


13 years later. He was not only known for his incredible selection of poems, but also his amazing plays and captivating stage presence. Some of his most notable plays include


He brought a smile to everyone’s face when he was performing.

Here, we reproduce one of his poems to give you an idea of his talent


During the years, he also worked as a freelance writer. He wrote a number of publications for local Hampstead newspapers, as well as the Guardian and the Independent. He never failed to impress with his interesting pieces, including interviews with a number of poets, such as Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin. To say he lived for writing would be an understatement. In his obituary, his brother wrote:


John’s works are still available to purchase today if you’d like to experience some of his work for yourself – giving you a lasting memory of an impressive poet, and an impressive man.

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