The Poet in the City Story

Poet in the City was founded in 1998 by lawyer Rosamund McCarthy as a subsidised poetry education project. Working with a number of City of London based organisations, it helped raise funds for poets to run workshops in schools across London, encouraging young people to read and write poetry. 

In 2003 Graham Henderson took over the project as CEO, and by 2006 Poet in the City had developed into an independent charity.  We began to regularly produce live poetry events in venues across London, as well as running a series of popular drop-in sessions at Waterstones.

Current CEO Isobel Colchester succeeded Henderson in 2014, having previously been involved with the organisation as a volunteer. We began to expand our work outside of London, programming events at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre and HOME, as well as undertaking commissioning projects, working with partners from across a variety of sectors. In 2016 we launched two exciting new ventures; Poet in the City Producers, our training programme for 16-15 year olds, and Poetry & Lyrics, our annual two-day music festival at Kings Place.  As of 2018 we have been running national project Collections in Verse, using live poetry events and commissions to animate British Library exhibitions in five cities across the country.

In October 2019 we welcomed Janet Fischer as Interim Chief Executive Officer (Maternity).

Poet in the City was awarded National Portfolio Organisation status in April 2011, in 2014 and again in 2017, meaning the organisation will receive regular funding from Arts Council England 2018 to 2022.