Jo Bell is a widely published poet, editor, broadcaster and poetry hack. Formerly the director of National Poetry Day in the UK, she has co-programmed Ledbury Poetry Festival, appeared as Glastonbury Festival Poet in Residence and is now the UK’s Canal Poet Laureate appointed by the Poetry Society and the Canal and River Trust. She teaches for the Poetry Society, Poetry School and the Arvon Foundation.
Jo has read at the Houses of Parliament, Glastonbury Poetry Festival, the Southbank Centre, in Paris, Stromstad and a vast number of upstairs rooms in pubs, and was a guest at Buckingham Palace’s reception to recognise contemporary British poetry. Winner of the Causley Prize and the Manchester Cathedral Prize in 2014, she has also come in the top three for the Ballymaloe International and Wigtown prizes. In autumn 2015 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Wolverhampton for her services to poetry.
In 2015 she has appeared on BBC Radio 3, 4 and 6 and is going for a full house; she is working on a commission for BBC Radio in 2016. Her poem Doggerland, commissioned by Carol Ann Duffy for the Guardian, has been recorded by Maxine Peake and can be heard with other renowned readers here. Her recent interview with Ian McMillan on The Verb can be heard here until Christmas.
52 is one of a range of crowd-sourced projects to raise the standards of, and promote the pleasures of contemporary poetry. Like mass-eavesdropping project Bugged, 52 uses social media to connect writers and to raise their standard of writing through creative friction.