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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.

You can read about all the wonderful artists, here.


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.

You can find all those videos on YouTube, here.


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

You can read my mortgage meeting inspired poem, ‘The Smoking Cabinet’ on The Cardiff Review, here.

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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