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. Usually I would be annoyed at spilling beer but I’ll make an exception on this occasion. Having read your poems about Jeremy Clarkson, known simply as ‘that odious twat’ in our house, I sprayed quality beer all over the carpet. I only wish I could use them in my literacy lessons.
    Thanks for the laughs.

      1. Brian – Your poem Refugees was read (both ways) at my friend’s Seder tonight. I would like to share it with others without violating copyrights. I thought about sharing it on Facebook, but I also blog at Daily Kos, and could publish it there with your permission. Please let me know if I can. It’s very powerful.

      2. Dear Rachel, sorry about the delay in replying. Thanks for your kind comments. I’d be very happy for you publish this via Daily Kos. with best wishes, Brian

  2. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for visiting and following my Fictionary. I hope you enjoy my Accidental Words. I look forward to more of your poetry. Anyone who speaks so highly of JC deserves a wider readership. Yes, even viewed upside down from Down Under he is still a twat.

  3. I am the poet RANTIN RICHIE and I came across your manifesto in a bookshop in York last week. It has pride of place above my mirror in the front room, like the radio mast on top of a very high building.
    Count me in as a member of the Terza Rima

  4. What a find! Your poetry is so clever, I love poetry that makes me smile or better still laugh. My 6 year old is being taught about poetry and rhymes in his class at school, I sent him in with a book by Shel Silverstein but I would love to find one of your poems to read to him. Any suggestions?

    1. Thanks very much, Claire. That’s very kind. Shel Silverstein is so fabulous! I thought about your question but I’ve drawn a blank, I’m afraid. Probably the most “6 year old friendly” is the one called Word Needles but it’s a bit unseasonal!

  5. I am somewhat annoyed that it has taken me too long to discover your excellent wordsmithery.
    Do you ever perform in front of a live audience? I’d like to see that.

  6. I love reading your poems and stories. I often re-read The Life of Trevor Bilston, a magnificent (if tragic) story that has the added personal bonus that I live in Leighton Buzzard.

  7. I know this is going to sound weird. I live in Canada and have a poetry board outside my house in Kingston, Ontario. I would like to use your nifty poem, Word Needles, this week. Is that okay? I would also like to put it up on FaceBook. Just for the halibut.

  8. Have just discovered you 🙂
    My husband’s always reading me extracts of poems he likes whilst I (inwardly) yawn and respond ‘Yes dear’. I’ve just READ HIM a dozen of yours and loved every one. Maybe I have discovered a new ‘common interest’ that is Brian Bilston! Thank you.

  9. Hi Brian
    I am working with a group of young people and a few adults to create a play about two girls, one of whom is a refugee. We want to get the young people and our audience to think about the subject and see the people. We’re hoping to raise money as well as awareness for a local refugee family. Your poem would make the perfect prologue and epilogue to our play (credited on the script and the programme). Would you be willing for us to use it? We’ve used it in the devising process and the young people were really inspired by it so thank you!

  10. Dear Brian, so appropriate at this time of year, may I also use your challenging poem “Refugees” in our church news letter. Alan

  11. Hi ,
    I had read the poem “Refugees” and I hope to translate it into Arabic language and publish it at electronic magazines which I used to publish in them. I am waiting for your permission.
    My Best Regards
    Fawziya Mousa Ghanim

  12. Brian is prone to break a dark aromatic flake. He’s also known to cope with a cut ‘n rub rope, but one thing is for sure, he has been heard to brag, that there’s nothing more pleasing than a good shag.
    Love your stuff Brian.

  13. Strange

    I saw a strange man today
    walking up the hill
    he had a strange beard
    (to signify his strangeness)
    he carried a strange bag
    on his strange back
    I imagine he lives in a strange house
    with his strange cat
    (black, of course)
    and because of his strange dietary needs
    he eats strange food
    (the man, that is, but probably the cat too)
    he’ll listen to strange music
    or meet strange friends
    at some strange venue

    strange strange strange
    strange strange

    well, Mr Strange,
    I rejoice in my normality

  14. Dear Brian, a while ago you tweeted a poem which was made up of first lines from poems that you hadn’t finished. This got a huge response. Well I set myself the challenge of writing a poem for each of the first lines, which I’ve now done. Would it be at all possible for me to email them to you? If nothing else, just in case you are curious as to what someone else would do with that prompt. Some are very short and some are a lot better then the others, and some I was totally surprised when the poem seemed to take on a life of it’s own and surprised me with what came out.

    After you’d giving us permission to use them, I also used them in a small group, when I was on a writers workshop and it was brilliant to hear what people came up with.

    Thanks for helping to make twitter a much happier place.

    With my best wishes,


  15. Thank for writing a boring poem that I have to do an essay on at school. You are awesome and super smart though. Keep doing what ur doing

  16. I decided, when still abed at 10.30 am and iPadding passionate anti Brexit letters to The (Glasgow) Herald and The Scotsman although a mere septuagenarian, to google Brexit poetry and came across “As I grow old I will march not shuffle”. What a gem, how appropriate! I immediately downloaded “You Took The Last Bus Home”. You have made my day, not to mention my week, month and year. Decade?

  17. Brian
    Re your wonderful poem Refugee – I used it in a lesson during class last week and the barely audible comments of ‘wow’ or ‘god’ was amazing! I’m sorry not to have asked permission first for using in class. Please accept my apologies and gratitude.

  18. Greetings Brian!
    I am a filmmaker based in Barcelona. I just read some of your beautiful poems and I felt in love with the poem Refugees. I was wondering if I could use the text to voice over a personal project , it is a non commercial work and I would be honored to share it with you once its all done.The project follows a refugee and his new lifestyle in a European city. Let me know if you think I could include your powerful poem. Thank you so much in advance!

  19. Brian, I love your poetry and would like to share it with my students from Japan, to help them to find the intrigue and delight that can be found in a poem. Is that ok with you? Barbara

  20. Hi Brian – we met at Malvern; not ill-met at Midnight proud Bilston!
    Had anyone approached you about participating in the Bewdley Festival 2020?
    Those of us in the general North Worcs attea know that you’d be, as usual, a 🌟. Do you have an agent / partner / interested person who sorts this out?

  21. Dear Brian

    I recently came across your poem ‘Refugees’ in an exhibition about the Basque children who sought refuge in Britain in 1937. I hope I am not getting the exhibition organisers into trouble by telling you this, in case they didn’t clear the copyright with you, but it was a moving exhibition and your poem was a highlight for me. I would like to share it with a few friends, if I may.

    I am so glad to have found you. We need more voices like yours especially at the moment. Your clarity and your humour. Brill!

  22. Dear Brian,
    I write articles about refugees every month for a dozen local village and parish magazines, publicity for Refugee Support Group, South Somerset, which both holds fundraising events and collects donations of goods for those in refugee camps. (There is a Facebook page)
    . In present circumstances these activities are suspended but in time I would very much like to use your poem Refugees for one article if I could have your permission.
    Many thanks for writing it,

  23. Dear Brian,
    Firstly I love your poetry. I started reading “Diary of a Somebody” at the beginning of lockdown and totally loved it. Thank you so much; it was a lifesaver during those first scary weeks .
    During lockdown, I fell in love via text. Repeated typos and autocorrects left us both laughing long into the night and kick started our relationship. Your poem ” Love poem, written in haste” captures that feeling perfectly. I would like to give my lovely chap a framed copy of this poem and wondered do you send out copies of individual poems? If so can I pay for that and if so how? So many questions – sorry.
    Again thank you – you’re brill.
    Wendy xx

    1. Hi Wendy, thanks for getting in touch. What a wonderful story that is. I’m so happy for you! I’m afraid that I don’t send out poems in that way – but do feel free to print out a copy of it yourself (watch out for typos, of course) and have it framed, should you wish to. Thanks very much for your kind words and best wishes to you both. Brian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s