Bristol City Poet
Since 2016, with the appointment of Miles Chambers, Bristol has had a City Poet to tap into public opinion and act as a communicator of local views.
Traditionally – and in line with the national Poet Laureate objectives – the person who holds this role can become the city’s conscience and can also reflect on what makes the city tick. What they convey through their poetry and creative writing can provide important insights onto contemporary events and feelings, not all of which may make for comfortable reading.
Some of the events that City Poets have performed at include the Mayor’s Annual State of the City Address, the council’s Annual General Meeting, and the city’s twinning celebrations. Poems may also be written for the opening of new buildings, for community events and for commemorative anniversaries.
The role of the City Poet runs for two years and is managed by Bristol Ideas in association with the Mayor’s Office.
You’ll find previous poetry commissions in the Read section of this website (a selection is also given below).
Header photo credit: Charley Williams photography
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.
Caleb Parkin was Bristol’s third City Poet, appointed towards the end of 2020 when Bristol was in a state of flux with endlessly changing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. At the end of Caleb’s term we published an anthology of his commissions, which is available to download as a PDF at the link below.
Photo credit: Sam Cavendar
Vanessa Kisuule 2018-2020
Vanessa Kisuule was the second Bristol City Poet to be appointed. At the end of her term we published an anthology of her commissions, which is available to download as a PDF at the link below.
You can view the film made by Bristol City Council of her 2020 poem City of Hope here.
Photo credit: Evan Dawson.
Miles Chambers 2016-2018
Miles Chambers was Bristol’s first City Poet. At the end of his term we published an anthology of his commissions, which is available to download as a PDF at the link below.