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Kat Lyons Announced as New Bristol City Poet

Bristol City Poet
Kat Lyons

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Kat Lyons will be the next Bristol City Poet, following in the footsteps of Caleb Parkin, Vanessa Kisuule and Miles Chambers. Kat will hold the role 2022-2024.

Kat is a writer, performer and workshop facilitator working in the field of spoken word poetry and performance storytelling. They use poetry to interrogate ideas, generate positive social change and strengthen people’s connections to the world and each other. Their poetry has been featured in Under the Radar, Ink Sweat & Tears and Bath Magg, and their debut poetry collection, Love Beneath the Nails, was published this year by Verve Poetry Press.

When their appointment was announced, they said:

‘I’m amazed and delighted to be offered the opportunity to be Bristol City Poet. I’ve loved what all the previous poets have brought to the role and it’s a huge honour to step into their shoes. When we tell the story of a city it’s often only the loudest voices which are heard, but Bristol is built on a multitude of smaller struggles and triumphs. I’m looking forward to discovering these ordinary stories, the legacies left by different generations and exploring what we want the city to become. Poetry should be open to anyone to explore and enjoy, to share their experiences and see themselves reflected. I hope to use my time in this role to encourage playfulness and connection, reignite a sense of wonder in our everyday lives, and positively reimagine our world.’

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:

‘I’m delighted to see Kat Lyons take up the mantle of City Poet, building on the passion and creativity that Caleb Parkin has brought to the role over the past two years, like Vanessa Kisuule and Miles Chambers before him. Our City Poets capture Bristol’s spirit and soul, celebrating and challenging in equal measure. With Kat’s background in performance and arts, I look forward to seeing them bring nuance and imagination to help continue to tell the fullness of our city’s story.’

Caleb Parkin, City Poet 2020-2022, said:

‘Being Bristol City Poet has given me the chance to deepen my knowledge of and love for this City in all its sparkly, messy glory. I’ve explored archives, primary schools and got to perform under a moon in the cathedral. It’s led me to build relationships with new organisations and make new connections – as well as to find creative ways to write about things I might not usually have addressed.

‘I hope that my poems reflect the dynamics of the last two years’ strifes and delights. The first and last poems are about parties, in very different ways – I had no idea how significant parties would become when I set out! But hope these poems provide a vivid lens on 2020–2022 (“May you live in interesting times” indeed) and in a way which is uniquely my own, while reaching the people of Bristol and representing us to the world.

‘Kat is going to do a cracking job as the new City Poet. They’re a great writer who’ll approach the next couple of years with both care and flair. I can’t wait to see what they create for you.’

A formal handover event from Caleb Parkin to Kat Lyons will take place in the autumn.

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