THE hunt is on for the Hampshire Poet 2020.

The search for a figurehead for poetry in the county, which takes place every two years, has got under way and is being led by Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT) and Winchester Poetry Festival (WPF).

The Hampshire Poet programme, which aims to foster local writing talent, has been running every two years since 2008 and provides the opportunity for a Hampshire-based poet – either resident and/or working in the county - to undertake commissions, lead workshops and give readings and talks throughout Hampshire.

As well as being a talented poet, the successful poet will act as a strong advocate for poetry and poets.

The Hampshire Poet will play a significant role in highlighting key cultural events, as well as working with the 2020 Winchester Poetry Festival.

They will have the chance to create new work, engage members of the community and connect to planned activities taking place across the county during the year.

New Forest based Robyn Bolam, pictured, who was selected as Hampshire Poet 2018, told the Daily Echo: “Being chosen as Hampshire Poet 2018 was inspirational as well as a huge privilege.

“I’ve been passionate about reading and writing poetry since primary school, so having the opportunity to pass on my enthusiasm to people of all ages has been an honour. I would strongly encourage Hampshire poets to apply to help poetry continue to flourish in our county.”

Stephen Boyce, chair of Winchester Poetry Festival, who has been on the Hampshire Poet selection panel for a number of years, added: “During their tenure, the Hampshire Poet becomes the heart of poetry in the county, undertaking a range of activities, highlighting the value of poetry and also bringing something new and individual to the poetry life of Hampshire.”

2020 is an exciting year culturally in Hampshire and the poet will get involved in marking the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing and the 300th anniversary of Gilbert White.

More details at

Applications close on November 15.