POET LAUREATE 2016-2018
Tom Cull is a poet, a creative writing professor, an active participant in London’s vibrant arts scene, and a community organizer. His poetry is accessible and engaged with our social, political, and environmental realities. He writes across a variety of poetic forms, from the traditional lyric to spoken word to the experimental. His commitment to exploring human connection with animals and natural environments is evident in his 2013 chapbook, What the Badger Said, and his 2018 full-length collection, Bad Animals.
Tom has served as a dedicated promoter of London’s literary artists and creator of learning opportunities for emerging artists. He has been board member for Words Fest, an editor of the Words Fest Zine, and a coordinator of Words Fest's Guerrilla Poetry events. He has facilitated workshops for Poetry London’s reading series, Western University’s Language Day, Gathering in the Garden, and the Children’s International Summer Villages Summer Camp.
He is also an active promoter of community building, urban renewal, and environmental conservation. He has been a board member for the Urban League of London and for the Back to the River Steering Committee. With his partner and six-year-old son, Tom founded Thames River Rally, a volunteer organization that coordinates monthly cleanups of the Thames River and encourages partnerships with community organizations to protect and preserve green spaces across London.
PROJECTS AND IMPACT
Tom Cull has represented London’s poetry and literary arts in a broad array of occasions and activities, has written poems for many of these occasions, and has been a notable contributor to London's Culture Days in 2016 and 2017. During Culture Days on Dundas Street (2017), he curated both Poet Laureate Presents… Crossings and Poets' Lane, a series of concrete poetry installations that filled a city block with t-shirt poetry, edible plant letters, immersive video poems, live performances, a living sandwich-board, and a re-mounting of Poet Laureate Presents… Art & Environment: Scrabbling Poetry.
LEGACY PROJECT: POET LAUREATE PRESENTS...
Poet Laureate Presents… is an event series curated and hosted by the Poet Laureate and dedicated to showcasing local artists, London cultures, and the many ways in which the literary arts can facilitate meaningful social change. Click through the gallery below to view event descriptions and highlights.
THE RIVER TALKS: A GATHERING AT DESHKAN ZIIBI
The River Talks: A Gathering at Deshkan Ziibi / Thames River (October 18 - 20, 2018)
Tom led the London Arts Council's contribution to this collaborative event with London Environmental Network, The City of London, Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, Museum London, London Public Library, and London Community Foundation. The event - part tribute, part summit, part community gathering - included three days of indoor and outdoor talks, walks, activations, and art focused on river ecology, hydrology, culture, history, conservation, gender, and social justice. Featuring Indigenous leaders, water protectors, water managers, conservationists, environmentalists, activists, artists, and academics, the event asked us to re-imagine, renew, restore, and respect our water-ways.
OTHER NOTABLE PROJECTS
Poets' Passage (July 27 - September 21, 2017)
In consultation with The City of London Planning Division, Downtown London, Covent Garden Market, and Fanshawe College, Tom curated a series of interactive activities for Market Lane near Covent Garden Market. This pilot program, designed to help rejuvenate Market Lane and promote local businesses, featured local-artist-led activities including live painting lessons, pop-up dancing, music, and hand-made automatic poetry generators.
London in Colour (2016)
In collaboration with the City of London's Heritage Planner and Culture Office and with LAC’s Public Art Program, Tom wrote nineteen original poems to accompany drawings of London’s architectural, cultural, and historical landmarks created by twelve local artists.
Supported through the City of London Community Arts Investment Program (CAIP),
administered by the London Arts Council.
For more information about the Poet Laureate,
please contact Jeremy Jeresky
(Curator, Public Programs and Learning)