February 26, 2017

John Dervishian, Worcester’s ‘Barstool Poet’ pours out his soul

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Matthew Wright / mattwrightphoto.com

John Dervishian is tapped in to Worcester's poetry scene.

Under the dim lights of a Shrewsbury Street bar John Dervishian, Worcester’s barroom poet, huddles over a draft beer penning words to cocktail napkins, lottery slips and crumpled receipt paper.

Sitting by himself on a Wednesday night, Dervishian tries to explain to a curious bartender why he has pen in hand and an escalating scrum of notes and napkins strewn in front of him.

“It gets lonely in my head sometimes, but it’s also crowded,” Dervishian says.

“When it’s in there, and I write it down on something, it’s almost like a weight being lifted off of me. It’s done. I can move on,” he said. “It’s only going to bother me if I don’t get it out. It’s a huge release to get it out of my mind.”

Dervishian, 45, is known by a variety of nicknames across Worcester’s bars and coffee shops, including “The Bearded Poet,” “The Angry Poet” and “The Barstool Poet.”

Most nights, Dervishian can be found on a barstool amid the Shrewsbury Street bustle where he’s no stranger to striking up conversations with other bar patrons and whoever the bartender is on duty.

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