Poets, spoken word fans and performers in Bristol are invited to apply to become the new City Poet.

The winner will be required to compose 10 poems for specific events or projects and will also take part in public performances and community engagement activities during Mayor Marvin Rees’ second half of his term in office (May 2018 – May 2020).

Some of the events that the current City Poet, Miles Chambers, has performed at include the Mayor’s Annual State of the City Address (2016 and 2017), the council’s Annual General Meeting and at a city twinning celebration as well as appearing in a video for Bristol Energy.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said:

It’s fantastic that we can continue the post of City Poet, which has been filled by Miles Chambers over the past year. Miles’ gift with words has enriched several important events in the city and I’m thankful to him for sharing his distinctive voice with us. I’m looking forward to being involved in the process of appointing a new City Poet and would encourage all poets who love this city to apply. Being the next City Poet is a huge opportunity and I can’t wait to read your submissions.

Andrew Kelly, director of Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and Bristol Festival of Ideas said:

We’re delighted to be supporting the Bristol City Poet for another two years. Poets help us celebrate and challenge what we do and also what the city does. Poetry has always been strong in Bristol – we’re the birthplace of the romantic poetry movement after all – and remains a critical part of the cultural life of the city. Miles has done a great job as the first city poet. He’s created a strong presence in the city and has written and performed many poems that have helped illuminate city life and work. It’s an excellent foundation for the next city poet to build on.

Applicants should be experienced poets living in Bristol who have published work in print and/or online. In addition to filling in the application form (here) they should submit two poems (these can be new works or ones already published) of up to 65 lines, one of which should have Bristol as its subject matter, and a personal statement of around 300 words setting out what they feel they would bring to the role.

The application deadline is Friday 1 December 2017. The decision will be made in January 2018 with a handover from the present City Poet Miles Chambers to the new city poet in May 2018.

The role of the City Poet is managed by Bristol Cultural Development Partnership as part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas in association with the Mayor’s Office. The City Poet is given an annual fee of £5,000 for the core poems. There are opportunities to do more and these will be discussed with the appointed poet. In addition, the poet can use the City Poet title to do work for other organisations.

The judging panel for the City Poet role will include Mayor Marvin Rees and members of his office, representatives from Festival of Ideas as well as City Poet Miles Chambers.

20161006 - FOI Mayors Lecture Marvin Rees © Jon Craig Photography

Performance poet and social commentator Miles Chambers (pictured above, photo credit @joncraig_photos) was appointed the first City Poet following his rendition of his specially composed work ‘Bristol, Bristol’ at the official swearing-in ceremony for Mayor Rees in May 2016. He performed the poem again at an evening of poetry on the theme of utopia at Bristol Festival of Ideas later that month. Among his many other appearances have been at the Mayor’s Annual State of the City Address in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building; the city council annual meeting; twinning celebration; a poetry-reading master-class celebrating Computershare’s work supporting local pupils with their reading; and the anti-austerity march in the city centre in September 2017. In January 2017 he composed a poem as part of Change 300 Futures, a campaign to support 300 aspiring young people from Bristol’s disadvantaged inner city communities, and for Valentine’s Day he created a short film on behalf of Bristol Energy called I Love You Bristol.