About Brian

‘Brian Bilston is a laureate for our fractured times, a wordsmith who cares deeply about the impact his language makes as it dances before our eyes.’ Ian McMillan

imageFrequently described as the “Poet Laureate of Twitter”, Brian Bilston is a poet clouded in the pipe smoke of mystery. Very little is known about him other than the fragments of information revealed on social media: his penchant for tank tops, his enjoyment of Vimto, his dislike of Jeremy Clarkson.

In 2014 he became the first person to retain the title of Pipe Smoker of the Year [Poetry section] and, over the years, he has won numerous awards for cycling proficiency, first aid, and general tidiness. He won the 2015 Great British Write Off poetry prize for a poem disguised in a Venn diagram.

His first collection of poetry You Caught the Last Bus Home will be published later this year with Unbound. You can find a short film about it, how to support it, and get your name in the back of it, here:


Writing about his own verse, he says:

I write about Waitrose.
And the pitta of Waitrose.
The poetry is in the pitta.

From the Esquire online weekly magazine:


You can find Brian most days on Twitter (@brian_bilston) and also on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BrianBilston/).



  1. Dear Brian,

    I teach English to adults in Belgium and have been wondering whether I can use your poems in class (about once a month). I am hoping to (re)awaken their interest in poetry this way.
    I have noticed in the comments here that you often allow this – thank you on behalf of all of us teachers!


  2. It’s NationalPoetry Day on Thursday and I’d like to read one of your poems from ‘Alexa…etc” in my local library in Skelmanthorpe, a West Yorkshire village near Huddersfield. Would that be okay?

  3. I just read your book.
    Thanks so much for writing it.
    I loved every word.

    Here’s some errata for Diary of a Somebody:

    p16 “whom he met at sales conference” should be “whom he met at a sales conference”.
    p272 the tear should probably be on the right side on the page, not the left.
    p328 “as distraction” should be “as a distraction”.
    p391 “8th April” should be “1st April”.
    p392 “8th June” should be “9th June”.
    p392 “25th June” should be “27th June”.
    p392 “18th September” the poem has gone missing.

    Thanks again.

    1. Thanks very much for your kind words. Very glad you enjoyed it. Thanks also for the errata. A couple I’d not encountered before so that’s very helpful. The issues on pp391-2 have been sorted now, though. Can I ask what version of the Diary did you read: hardcover, paperback or ebook?
      Thanks again,

  4. Dear Brian,

    I would like to ask if it’s possible to quote your poem Refugees in our upcoming book.

    Thank you


      1. Thank you, Brian.

        Our book is called Ten Survival Skills for a World in Flux, and is by Tom Fletcher. It’s a guide to the skills for modern life!

        I could also email you the poem as Tom would like it to appear in the book.

        All best,

      2. Thanks, Iain. As the book is being published by Harper Collins, you’ll need to get in touch with the rights department of my publisher Unbound. The contact there is Ilona Chavasse and her email address is ilona@unbound.co.uk
        Best wishes,

  5. Hello, Sir, Thank you for your hilarious poetry! I’ve discovered a Treasure today (that would be YOU, btw😃). I’ve already shared two of your poems on my feed. Keep writing! We love your stuff.😃

  6. Dear Brian,

    Does anyone ever send you poems?! This is a Christmas poem my 11yr old wrote…. it made me laugh out loud, so I’m sharing… “The Humble Sprout”

    The Humble Sprout,
    Nothing’s wrong with it.
    They make people shout.

    Only a small cabbage
    The flavour – quite bland
    You can roast ’em, fry ’em, boil ’em
    And with butter they taste grand!

    A vegetable most hated,
    I can change your mind
    Because, when plated
    I think you’ll find….

    Behold! The Humble Sprout!
    Sweet, yet savoury
    Chewy, delectable, warm,
    Gives me a feeling I want to cry out:

    Oh! how I love to munch
    on sprouts at Christmas lunch

  7. Hi Brian,
    I am studying at the undergraduate level(from india) and we have one of your poems (refugee),in our syllabus and in the place of the poets picture “Jeremy Clarkson’s” picture is published.
    I wonder why?an explanation?
    ,so I can convince my teacher that jerremy Clarkson is not Brian bilston

  8. Brian, have you ever listened to Gilbert O’Sullivan? (I’m sure he was before your time – though not mine). The man was a genius with lyrics.

      1. Unfortunately, one of the very best things I think anyone’s ever written – miserable though it is –
        is, in its last verse, exactly what I’ve been going through since the summer. ‘Alone again, naturally’. Albeit substitute (over) 85, for 65. By the way, you never replied about my version of ‘If’. I managed to work around the lines I asked about. It’s not for profit. If I ever post it anywhere, do you expect a mention for alerting me to its parody potential?

      2. I’ve just read the lyrics to that. They’re brilliant. And I’m sorry that you’ve had cause this year for that song to resonate so with you. Hope you have people around you. And yes, sorry I missed you out earlier comment. Please feel free to use those lines in your own version. No need to mention me!

      3. Brian,

        Perhaps you could do me a favour, and process this reply asap, with a view to taking it down. I’d rather not be personally associated with what I’ve written, I’d find it very embarrassing. It’s not the same as writing about a mousetrap (thank you for my solitary ‘like’!). Have, of course, no e-mail, to bypass this.

        The strangest thing happened overnight (no, this isn’t some prelaid scheme, or stratagem).
        As usual, couldn’t drop off for ages, then woke, at around a quarter to three, with the phrase
        ‘No social influence for me’ suddenly implanted in my head. Not something I’d read. Anyway, came down to make tea – and suddenly, the phrase I (again, out of the blue) mentioned the other day, as perhaps a suitably offbeat theme for one of your poems – ‘O following,
        0 followers’ – is also there.

        Anyway, less than 2 hours later, there’s a 6 verse poem, about dementia, in front of me. Haven’t sat down, just pottered around, and had to keep running to pen and paper. This is weird (as I’ve just written to my cousin, I’m neither on drugs, nor medication). I’ve never read poetry, never written any. Where is it suddenly coming from? What – or who – is channelling this through me? It was like giving birth without the bother of pregnancy, I suppose! Everything just gushed out. Has this ever happened to you? (Keep it clean)

        Would you consider posting it under ‘Anon’ on your Facebook page, as from a publicity shy
        follower? It’s not a ‘for profit’ venture, anyone is free to share it. My e-mail to my cousin will
        establish actual (nominal) ‘authorship’; place it / use it (with my anonymous credit) where you will. Perhaps it’s not something you’re either able, or willing, to do; it is, after all, your Facebook page. By the way, this isn’t the one I’ll be trying to place myself, for which I requested loan of your six lines; that’s a rather scathing piece about NHS management (not nursing), which enjoys a torrid reputation, even (especially?) now.

        Let me know what you think, then I’ll type it up as here, under ‘Reply’

        I think I know where this abrupt development might be coming from. Every night, before bed,
        I read the (prose) tribute to my father my mother wrote, the day I travelled the 10 miles (and back) to register his death, 5 years ago, now. She’d just written it out in a flow, same as me here; but it read like poetry, with every new sentence harking back to, and building on, the last; and it has a natural rhythm and cadence to it. My mother never had any truck with poetry, either, so where does it come from, out of the blue (though she did leave a succession of spontaneous such notes to him after, all over the house; she missed him dreadfully (and, by the way, unlike with Gilbert, we did talk about my own father, and events, all the time; it most definitely wasn’t a case here of ‘No words were ever spoken’!)). Had Gilbert played at her service, they cut it off just at the all-important last verse (ever thought somebody’s trying to tell you something?!). My mother’s tribute was read out at my father’s, drew a round of applause.

        Thank You

  9. Oh no! I keep losing my reply!…Anyway, do give the (great) music a listen too, it makes the words so much more powerful (by the way, I am not Gilbert!). ‘You can’t have one without the other’ (do I feel another credit coming on?). Thank you for letting me use those lines, trouble is, now I’ve reworked them, can’t see past using my own versions! No one other than me will probably see it anyway (‘0 Following 0 Followers’ – a poem title you might consider?) Will give you a mention for the model, all the same, unless you indicate to the contrary

  10. Hi Brian,
    Our church (Nailsea Methodist Church in North Somerset) is looking to become a ‘Church of Sanctuary’ (part of City of Sanctuary). Would it be permissible to put your poem ‘Refugees’ in our church magazine? (The magazine is free) Thank you.

  11. Good Morning Brain, huge fan of your work. Just wondering when you were born and where? I’m writing a paper for the New York Times. Looking forward to hearing from you. Sincerely Mike Hawk.

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