A cultural legacy for the isle of man
The Manx Bard is an exciting initiative sponsored by the Isle of Man Arts Council and endorsed by Manx Litfest. The concept is the brainchild of Bridget Carter, who is chairman of the Manx Bard committee, supported by Hazel Teare and Di Benson.
Each year the Island’s most worthy poet is appointed as Manx Bard via an annual competition. In recognition of our proud poetic heritage, the title of First Manx Bard was awarded posthumously in 2014 to our national poet T.E. Brown.
The manx bard 2016/17
The Island's second batch of would-be Bards auditioned in front of a panel of judges at The Hub in Port Erin in August 2016. On Sunday 2 October, at a special invitation-only event just before the annual Poetry Slam, the third Manx Bard was unveiled as John 'Dog' Callister. John was inaugurated in the Bardic chair, wearing the robes and bearing the Bardic staff.
the annual competition
The Manx Bard competition is held every year and is open to anyone aged 18 or over who lives full-time in the Isle of Man. Entrants are judged on the quality of poetry, their performance and on the initiative they can bring to this high profile role. They need to have some understanding of Manx heritage and the Celtic tradition from which the role originates. Poetic skill, creativity and an ability to engage the community in poetry are all crucial elements of The Bard’s function. The successful candidate will also attend selected events off-Island, helping to highlight our unique culture. The role carries a stipend and expenses.
Bridge Carter, chairman of the Manx Bard Committee, in the Bardic Chair
John 'Dog' Callister, the third Manx Bard, at Manx Litfest 2015
the bardic chair
Thanks to the kind support of the Isle of Man Arts Council, we are proud to have our very own Bardic Chair. Created by wood artist Graham Hall, with hand-carved lettering by Simon Capelan, the chair is a work of art in its own right. It is made from beautiful white sycamore and bears a quote selected from T.E. Brown’s poem Spes Altera. Each new Manx Bard will be inaugurated in the chair, wearing Bardic robes designed by Linda Davies and bearing the staff created by Simon Capelan.
We are delighted and honoured that the Bardic Chair has a permanent home in the Legislative Buildings in Douglas. Former President of Tynwald, the Hon Clare Christian, said: ‘The chair is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and artwork which will come, in time, to be widely recognised as representing what is best of another aspect of our culture, our poetry.'
L/R: Graham Hall, Clare Christian, Linda Davies, Hazel Teare, Geoff Corkish, Bridge Carter and Janet Lees
Graham Hall and Simon Capelan at work on the chair