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 Cultural Development Partnership as part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas in association with the Mayor’s Office.

You can read past poetry commissions – as well as news of activities in which the City Poet is involved – on the Festival of Ideas Bristol City Poet Blog.

Caleb Parkin 2020-2022/

Image showing City Poet Caleb Parkin

Caleb Parkin is a poet, performer, facilitator and filmmaker with a particular passion for inclusive environmentalism; wellbeing; arts, culture and heritage; and LGBT+ pride. His poems have been published widely in journals that have included Poetry Review, The Rialto, Butcher’s Dog, Under the Radar, Coast to Coast to CoastEnvoi and Magma, in Bristol 247, and online.

Image: Paul Samuel White

Vanessa Kisuule 2018-2020/

Vanessa Kisuule, image Evan Dawson

Anthology of Vanessa Kisuule's City Poet Commissions/

BRISTOL CITY POET Vanessa Kisuule Book Cover
The View From Above and Below (2020) / 2 MB
Photo of Vanessa Kisuule: Evan Dawson

Miles Chamber 2016-2018/

20160520 - Fest Ideas UTOPIA AtBritsol JonCraig.co.uk

Anthology of Miles Chambers City Poet Commissions/

BRISTOL CITY POET Miles Chambers Book Cover
This is Our City / 5 MB
Photo of Miles Chambers: Jon Craig

Get Involved/

Would you like the Bristol City Poet to write a poem for you?

You could request an ode to your favourite restaurant, park or club or a cherished community leader. Your organisation or business could mark an anniversary, celebrate the launch of a new project or space.

Send an email to zoe.steadmanmilne@businesswest.co.uk with your request.