City of Poets began sort of with a Robert Frost-style lump in the throat. Despite having been published and scribbling for years, being a Poet Laureate, in the nearest place I have to 'where I am from', changed me. I am told that it also changed readers within the communities I wrote for and about, largely because I was of those communities, having been born, and then torn, from them. It seems we all felt increased pride and prestige, plus a greater sense of inter-connection. It also caused closet poets to emerge, and highlighted that to be a poet does not require literacy either.
In April 2022 my Laureate term in Los Angeles was over and I became full of ambition for a tribe of Poet Laureates in my home city of Glasgow, who might have a similar experience in and with their communities. I hope that Glasgow's City of Poets can help this happen and develop an economy around poetry that benefits poets, and through which City of Poets can become self-sustaining.
Ultimately poetry is words that carry the rhythm of our own hearts. It's a glue to unite our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual selves. Lots of initiatives are needed in our cities, and many are as good, but few could be better, provide more access to individuals' capacity to engage with each other, the natural world, with themselves, than that of being part of a City of Poets.