WINCHESTER is set to have its own professional 'resident' poet as the city comes back to life.

The Poetry Festival has launched a brand-new campaign to raise funds to establish a 'poet-in-residence: Poet on the High Street'.

Whoever is selected will perform across the city for six months, starting in June. They will use poetry, digital or reading material.

Stephen Boyce, former chair of Winchester Poetry Festival says: “We need your help. We want to use poetry to rejuvenate the city centre and to spread joy, understanding, and a shared love of our city.

"While we have secured in-principle funding from a range of partners, Winchester Poetry Festival now needs everyone’s help to raise the final sum to enable us to draw down the funding available to us.

"This innovative and engaging programme aims to work with Winchester’s people, businesses, and communities, through a journey of expression, imagination and creativity.

"In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it will help to reawaken our sense of place, express feelings, memories, and hopes, through people’s own poetry, and that of our poet-in-residence. Using the power and playfulness of words, be they written, digital or spoken, this programme will help to stimulate community recovery and growth post-Covid 19.

"It will build community connections, linking people with the heritage that surrounds them, reigniting community optimism, and growing resilience for the future."

Jane Bryant, incoming chair, added: "Poetry is accessible to everyone. It ignites a creative spark in us all and also helps us with our sense of well-being. We want to excite community and business engagement - poetry by the people for the people. The community heritage poet-in-residence - our Poet on the High Street - will work with schools, young people, and the community at large to inspire creativity, to lift our spirits, and to animate the city centre with poetry throughout the summer.

"But we need your help to make it happen.”

Full details about Winchester Poetry Festival’s Crowdfunding Campaign which runs until May 15 are available on: