Jo Bell is a poet, pundit and broadcaster. Her first career was in professional archaeology, and she continues to search for a meaning below the surface. Her published collections (Navigation, 2008; Kith, 2015) frankly address sexual relationships, friendships and her life on the UK canals. Known for her charismatic performances, she is a veteran of literary festivals such as Hay-on-Wye and spoken-word venues such as Glastonbury Festival, where she was poet in residence in 2010. She also writes for radio, as in the 2016 docupoem Slow Machine for BBC Radio 4.
Jo believes in creative friction, or the power of collaboration and community to bring out the best in poets. She is an expert in establishing digital communities where writers can support and push each other as in cult project 52, now a bestselling poetry workbook. She works in collaboration with other writers and artists, making filmpoems and live shows including Fourpenny Circus (nominated for the Ted Hughes award). Her awards include the Charles Causley prize and the Manchester Cathedral prize, and Carol Ann Duffy calls her ‘one of the most exciting poets writing today’. Jo aims to write with an absolutely unsentimental tenderness.
A brief stint teaching creative writing in a university persuaded her that it is better taught outside academic institutions in small groups, online or by one-on-one mentoring. She teaches face-to-face and online for the Poetry School, Poetry Society and the Arvon Foundation.