Harry Baker

Graduated with BSc Mathematics with Study in Continental Europe in 2015

Current role

Professional Poet

I’ve written poems ever since I was a teenager and being in Bristol was a fantastic opportunity to be part of a creative community and find places to perform them. I used to spend my days in lectures and my evenings and weekends at gigs all around the country, even performing in Germany while I was on my year abroad. There was a key moment when I knew I could do this full-time; I was in the back of a fourth year lecture and received an email telling me my poems would be shared on TED.com and would be seen by millions of people around the world!

I love creating something out of nothing. When weighing this up against more conventional careers the thing I kept coming back to was that there are other roles out there that I know other people could do as well as or better than me, but if I didn’t write my poems then they wouldn’t exist, and there is something magical about that. 

One of the joys of my job is that no two days are the same. Today I am doing a test recording for the radio before delivering a workshop to a creative agency, then heading to a comedy festival to perform as part of a musical double act. I’m just about to tour the UK with a solo show I’ve written, but last week I spent a whole day creating a cryptic crossword for my local newspaper. 

I’ve always loved maths, but I used to think it was using a separate part of my brain from poetry. Recently I realised that they are both about searching for answers and there’s a lot of crossover - I loved the way maths taught me to process and think things through logically, as well as seeing the beauty in the world around me. My latest show is based on turning 10,000 days old, with poems about prime numbers as well as UK Garage, falafel and ice cream.

I’d tell current students to have hobbies! You never know where they might take you. If you enjoy something for the sake of it, anything else that happens is a bonus. Uni is such a fantastic opportunity to try new things. You might think maths may no longer be a big part of your life once you graduate, but it will always come back to you.


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