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  • Writer's pictureCaleb Parkin

Bristol City Poet & Other Adventures

Bristol City Poet from October 2020! Thanks to the excellent Paul Samuel White for these pictures.

It’s been a turbulent time lately, of course – but from my little corner of Bristol, I’ve been busy as ever.

Big news today: having been interviewed on Monday, today I’ve been announced as Bristol City Poet for the next two years, from October 2020! And as I said in the press release…

“I hope to write delicious poems for the people of Bristol, which embrace the city’s playful spirit – and to create spaces which give voice to our kaleidoscope of experiences. Remember: especially on a sunny day, Bristol is already a poem.”

I’m keen to explore themes that matter to Bristol and which I’m passionate about too. My passions for writing for wellbeing, queering ecopoetry, filmpoetry, museums and galleries, will all, I think, have a part to play.

Having made Bristol my home since 2002, I feel really close to the city – and am delighted to be able to write it love letters, awkward texts and, if necessary, pass-aggy emails. We’re family now, after all.

Watch this space for more on this later in 2020!

Queering the Museum, RAMM Exeter

Early during lockdown, I applied for one of the Out and About: Queering the Museum commissions at Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter – and deighted to be offered on of these.

I’ve started exploring their natural history collections, with a view to unpacking queer aspects of them and interrogating their postcolonial pasts.

So far, this has led to a serious interest in the naming of butterflies and seaweed, the discovery of a collection of ‘gay sand’, and the start of an autoethnographic exploration of my own connetions to empire.

Writing for Wellbeing Wednesdays, for Cheltenham Festivals

Also during lockdown, I produced a series of Writing for Wellbeing videos for Cheltenham Festivals, with whom I work on the wonderful Beyond Words project.

Starting with a Name Jam and ending with Praise Poems, I hope that these short (around 10 minutes) videos will give you plenty to write about and explain a little of their wellbeing potential.

First Story – Writing with Objects

For National Writing Day, I produced this full-length workshop around writing inspired by objects, in which I found a surprising affinity with my cheese grater.

It’s just under an hour and in this one, I’ll write along with you – so you can hear my furious scratchy writing and potentially terriers barking in the background.

Cardiff Review – The Smoking Cabinet

The mortgage advisor updates us on familial bereavements, bemoans the clogged M4. Deposits the negative equities of his week.

garden – a poetry-film collaboration with Marius Grose

Finally, I’m delighted that another collaboration, a poetry-film made during lockdown, is now up Poetry Film Live – and you can watch that, here.

have you ever had a thread stuck down your throat as though your body was cotton and you were unravelling

Wishing you all the very best in these strange times – hope you’re managing to stay creative, healthy and happy.

I know a lot of people have struggled and a lot of people are grieving – and want to send everyone my love, and solidarity.

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