About Us

The Bristol Poetry Institute was founded in 2012 as an Institute of the University of Bristol. Its mission is to promote within and beyond the university and the city of Bristol the study, practice and reading of poetry.

An adjunct body of the Faculty of Arts, the Bristol Poetry Institute has become one of the centres for the research and engagement with poetry in the South West.

Created and developed by Professor Andrew Bennett, and founded by Professor Daniel Karlin, the Bristol Poetry Institute is a shared space between the university and the city. Each year the Institute hosts scores of seminars, readings, colloquia and conferences for students, scholars, alumni and the public.

The Institute draws on the resources of the University's other departments, faculties and institutes, on poets and public figures from Great Britain and abroad, and on scholars, students and colleagues from other UK universities and academic institutions further afield.

It has two principal aims: to foster research into poetry, and to encourage and forward the practice of poetry.

The Institute addresses the first aim by bringing together colleagues researching on poetry, at Bristol and at other universities, and by organising scholarly events on poets ancient and modern. In this respect it is able to draw upon a variety of language expertise, and is by no means confined to Anglophone writing.

As to the second, the Institute offers various platforms to established and aspiring poets to read and develop their work and to foster the work of others. Students are a key part of this and, in conjunction with the Department of English, the BPI publishes an annual anthology of student poetry, and has previously run poetry competitions for schools.

The promotion of greater public engagement and understanding of poetry is also at the heart of the BPI's mission. As part of this commitment, the Institute organises and sponsors an annual major poetry reading: past readers have included three Poets Laureate, reading to audiences as large as 800. Another annual public commitment is the Poetry Arch, a week-long series of readings in June. It also organises smaller readings, and provides support for the writing, performance and dissemination of poetry within the university and the wider community.

The BPI welcomes and pursues collaboration with other organisations. Existing connections include: Poems for…, Raise the Bar and Poetry Can. Further connections and collaborations are under development.

Partner organisations


Professor David Punter
Professor of Poetry
Co-Director


Dr William Wootten
Lecturer in Poetry & Creative Writing
Co-Director