Broughton’s Prose and Poetry is a collection of poetry, stories and occasional journalism, but it is first and foremost the landing page for a poet for hire enterprise. So if you would like help turning your unique idea into a poem, please contact Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a virtual or in-person meeting.
Broughton’s Prose and Poetry began in Paris, 2017. It was a last ditch attempt to save a failing year of travel.
After graduating from university, Richard decided to see the world and learn French. But soon after getting to Paris, he realised he had few friends, dwindling cash reserves and none of the bars or restaurants had responded to his job applications. As for French, Duolingo could only do so much. He began to admit that going back to Oxford was the only feasible path forward, even though he’d only go back with a handful of memories and an empty wallet.
Then, halfway along his final walk along the Seine, Richard came across a bookshop that buzzed with life. He also heard a pinging sound, which turned out to be someone writing on a typewriter on the steps outside. This person was called Louis, and Louis introduced Richard to the idea that would ultimately save his plans, the world of poet for hire.
Louis happened to be from Peckham in South London, and a bottle of vodka and knock-off lemonade was mixed to celebrate his shared nationality with Richard. But that typewriter had caught Richard’s eye, so eventually he plucked up the courage to ask Louis if he could try to do the same thing he did: write poems for passers-by.
Louis sportingly agreed, and within an hour Richard wrote his first bespoke poem for a kindly old woman. Satisfied, she gave him a whole €5 note, infinitely more than his entire income in France to date. It was also infinitely more fun that anything Richard had done in Paris to date. Encouraged, he thanked Louis, bought a typewriter of his own, and set-up his own poet for hire enterprise. He called it Broughton’s Prose & Poetry after his Granfdather’s middle name – which he now regrets because some people pronounce it “Brow-tons” not “Braw-tons” as it should be.
Broughton’s went on to fund Richard’s time in Paris, and followed him across the pond to Montreal, then back to London. Many years later, what was once a last ditch attempt to save a failing gap year, being a poet for hire is now the highlight of Richard’s week. It’s also something he reckons he’s good at, and enjoys nothing more than giving back to the community of readers who frequent the bookshops that are kind enough to host him.
Special thanks go to Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore in Paris, where it all began, and Brick Lane Bookshop in London, who not only allow him to continue, but were the first bookshop to offer him a cup of tea whilst he worked.