The hunt is on for Wolverhampton’s third Poet Laureate – to play a starring role in the eighth Wolverhampton Literature Festival early next year.

City of Wolverhampton Council is looking to appoint the next Poet Laureate who will be a champion of poetry for the city. The Poet Laureate will write poems to commission during their tenure, as well as work on poetry events during the festival and throughout their time in the role. 

The post will be honorary, lasting 2 years, and it will continue the great work of our outgoing Poet Laureate, Dr Kuli Kohli, to encourage and raise the profile of poetry and the city.

City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for Visitor City, Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal, said: “The festival is a huge success in the city, and it is fantastic that it is returning for its eighth year.

“We give massive thanks to Dr Kuli Kohli, who has been an inspiration and true advocate of poetry and creative writing within the city. Kuli’s love and passion for poetry was evident throughout her tenure, as was her commitment to Wolverhampton. She has left a lasting impact on the city, and we are excited to see what she will achieve in her future endeavours.

“I wish all applicants the best of luck and I am looking forward to the festival next year.” 

Kuli said: "Being Poet Laureate has brought some excellent experiences and opportunities that has made my confidence soar. I never thought that I would be commissioned to write royal poems for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Coronation of the King. 

“I have run many writing workshops and performed poetry at special events. During my laureateship, I have tried hard to promote poetry within the city.  I am proud of what I have achieved, especially working with women, ethnic minorities, the Punjabi community, disabled people and the people of Wolverhampton. I was commissioned to write a poem for the National Portrait Gallery’s UK Citizen: Wolverhampton project – Punjabi Migration Experiences where I was a subject as well as a steering group member. My portrait was exhibited at Wolverhampton Art Gallery along with other Punjabi people who have contributed to make Wolverhampton what it is today.  

“This position has enabled me to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Wolverhampton, this has been the highlight of my role. Thank you Wolverhampton for giving me this wonderful opportunity as poet laureate. I wish the next poet laureate all the luck and blessings I have received from Wolverhampton.”

Poets can apply to become Wolverhampton’s next Poet Laureate by sending in a short description (up to one side of A4) detailing how they meet the criteria for the post, along with a sample poem. Applications can also be submitted by audio/video (Max. 5 minutes).

We are looking for a poet with:

  • a close connection with Wolverhampton
  • published poems or collections
  • experience of writing poems to commission
  • an enthusiasm and ability for promoting poetry to a wide audience
  • experience and capability in public engagement
  • performance and workshop experience

Applicants should be aged 18 and over and can send their applications to Wolverhampton Art Gallery or email by 18 September, 2023. 

Please note this is an unpaid, honorary position. Any prospective applicants are welcome to get in contact to discuss the post in more detail. 

The 8th Wolverhampton Literature Festival will take place from Friday 2 February to Sunday 4 February, 2024. Applicants must be available over this weekend to perform as a part of the festival programme of events. 

The festival organisers are encouraging applications from poets who are underrepresented in our programming, including, but not limited to, disabled artists and people from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds.