In Praise of Jeremy Reed


Jeremy Reed is one of the UK’s most prolific and skilful poets, yet he remains unknown to a great many readers. For some reason, Jeremy Reed’s work is often overlooked or ignored in favour of the work of far less talented writers.

Jeremy Reed

Jeremy Reed

Jeremy Reed has written a vast number of poetry collections, novels, short stories and non-fiction works. His music biographies include studies of Lou Reed, Scott Walker, Brian Jones and Marc Almond. His literary biographies include studies of Rimbaud, Genet and Anna Kaven, amongst others.



He is a translator of great subtlety and versatility. He has translated key texts by Novalis; Rimbaud; Bogary; Genet; Cocteau; Montale – to name only a few.


Reed’s poetry is some of the most beautiful and insightful poetry ever written, particularly the collections: Patron Saint of Eyeliner; Red-Haired Android; Kicks; Voodoo Excess, West End Survival Kit, and This Is How You Disappear.


If you are unfamiliar with Jeremy Reed’s poetry, then start with a copy of Kicks or Patron Saint of Eyeliner.



If you want to start with his fiction, then try reading his novel Diamond Nebula, or even Dorian, his sequel (of sorts) to Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey.



If you prefer non-fiction, then A Stranger on Earth – The Life and Work of Anna Kavan is a good place to start, as is Lou Reed: Waiting For the Man. Also worth looking at is Another Tear Falls – A Biography of Scott Walker; Born To Lose – A Biography of Jean Genet; and Delirium – An Interpretation of Arthur Rimbaud.



Here is a partial bibliography:


The Lipstick Boys

Blue Rock

Red Eclipse

Inhabiting Shadows

Isidore (a novel about Lautréamont)

Red Hot Lipstick (erotic stories)

When the Whip Comes Down (a novel about De Sade)

The Pleasure Chateau (an erotic trilogy)

Chasing Black Rainbows (a novel about Artaud)

Diamond Nebula

Dorian (a sequel to The Picture of Dorian Grey)

Boy Caesar

The Grid

Here Comes the Nice




A Long Shot to Heaven

The Isthmus of Samuel Greenberg (1976)

Saints & Psychotics

Bleecker Street (1980)

A Man Afraid

By the Fisheries (1984)

Nero (1985)

Selected Poems (1987)

Engaging Form (1988)

Nineties (1990)

Brigitte’s Blue Heart

Claudia Schiffer’s Red Shoes

Turkish Delight

Red Haired Android (1992)

Kicks (1994)

Sweet Sister Lyric (1996) 

Saint Billie (2000)

Black Sugar

Patron Saint of Eyeliner (2000)

Dicing For Pearls

Heartbreak Hotel (2002)

Duck and Sally Inside (2006)

Orange Sunshine (2006)

This is How You Disappear (2007)

Bona Drag (2009)

West End Survival Kit (2009)

Black Russian: Out-Takes 1978-9 (2010)

Piccadilly Bongo (2010)

Bona Vada (2011)

Whitehall Jackals (with Chris McCabe) (2013)

Nothing But a Star (2013)

The Glamour Poet Versus Francis Bacon (2014)

Sooner or Later Frank (2015)

Voodoo Excess (Rolling with the Stones) (2015)

Red Light Blues (2016)

jr ve rjd


The Coastguard’s House (Eugenio Montale)

Tempest of Stars (Jean Cocteau)

The Complete Poems (Jean Genet)

Praries of Fever (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

All That’s Left to You (Ghassan Kanafani)

On Entering the Sea (Nizar Qabbani)

The Sheltered Quarter (Hamza Bogary)

Hymn to the Night (Novalis)



Heart on my Sleeve

Madness: The Price of Poetry

Angels, Divas and Blacklisted Heroes

Caligula – Divine Carnage (with Stephen Barber)

Dead Brides (Edgar Allan Poe) – Introduction 

Through the Looking-Glass (Lewis Carroll) – Introduction

The Songs of Maldoror (Lautreamont) – Postscript

Lipstick, Sex and Poetry (autobiography)

Bitter Blue (autobiography)

4 Poets & A Play (John Ashbery, Thom Gunn, John Weiners, Francis Bacon) (2012)

The Dilly – A History of Piccadilly Rent Boys (2014) 





Pop Stars (1995) – with Mick Rock

Big Orange Day (2010) – with Lisa Wilkerson

Exploding into Colour (2012) – with Lisa Wilkerson



The Last Star (Marc Almond

Another Tear Falls (Scott Walker)

Waiting For the Man (Lou Reed)

The Last Decadent (Brian Jones)

Born to Lose (Jean Genet)

Delirium (Arthur Rimbaud)

A Stranger on Earth (Anna Kavan)

The King of Carnaby Street (John Stephen)



Jeremy Reed collaborates with musician/dj/electronica maestro Itchy Ear on a performance poetry/music/spoken word project called The Ginger Light.



The Ginger Light’s youtube channel is:

And here’s a fantastic promotional film of The Ginger Light in action – putting the fire back into poetry readings:


And here’s a link to The Ginger Light’s debut CD, Big City Dilemma, released by Cherry Red Records:

I would recommend listening to The Ginger Light or reading one of the above books. Jeremy Reed is a unique voice in literature. His work seems to be a fusion of the decadent, the erotic and the surreal. He is definitely worth reading.


Jeremy Reed’s website is:


In Praise of Jeremy Reed

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

Photo of Jeremy Reed by John Robinson




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11 Responses to “In Praise of Jeremy Reed”

  1. Mazie Says:

    Bona tribute.

  2. mac the nyphe Says:

    The Ginger Light are fan-bloody-tastic. They breathe life into the stale lungs of poetry reading. They should get awards for their efforts to revitalize a DEAD form of communication/entertainment. They show poetry can be fun, interesting, entertaining, meaningful.

  3. Cane Burdock Says:

    One of the world’s hardest-working and most prolific poets.

  4. Barry White Says:

    This is the best article I have read on Jeremy Reed, one of our most undervalued poets/ novelists/ translators/ essayists/ biographers. You really do him justice – and you made me want to read more of his work too… so hats off to you.

  5. David MacInnes Says:

    Yay – cool blog! JR is one of our best poets – along with Heaney and Raine – and on here you’ve included just about everything he’s written – shame there are no videos of him talking about poetry or performing with The Ginger Light – I know you’ve included the promo clip, but there’s other stuff too. Still, pretty good blog by any standard, so well done and thanks for the info. Rock on Jeremy Reed!

  6. Alan Chumbley Says:

    This guy is fantastic! I’ve seen him read/perform live. His voice is Gothic! His delivery is Glam/Decadent! He is great – a brilliant poet.

  7. Janette Pianet Says:

    I saw Jeremy (and Itchy Ear) at the Horse Hospital. Such power! Such beauty! There’s no grey in these peacocks. These boys rock! Poetry needs The Ginger Light. It always did. Now it’s got them, it won’t know what to make of them… They’re quite a few years ahead… but then they always were…

  8. michael9murray Says:

    Soooo glad to see a page like this!

    I have been an avid reader of Jeremy Reed since the 1980s; have most of his poetry books, and a collection of novels etc. I would like to say I still read them, but don’t need to, because they have stayed with me.

  9. Mel Gregan Says:

    Jeremy Reed is the UK’s most gifted and versatile poet. He should be better known than he is. Diamond Nebula is a truly amazing novel. Patron Saint of Eyeliner is his best poetry collection.

  10. cesaruizaquino Says:

    It’s not been a week since I discovered him at a local bargain bookstore here (our town Dumaguete) in one of his books, ‘Heartbreak Hotel.’

  11. Anna Carter Says:

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