About Verve

Find out more about our story, our aims and our partners



About Verve

Find out more about our story, our aims and our partners

The Verve Story

From an idea floated on Twitter to a whirlwind force in the poetry world, Verve Poetry Festival (and our sister press) are proud to be a home for brilliant poets and lovers. The four day festival in Birmingham city centre, now in our third year, welcomes award-winning poets from the Midlands, the UK and the world.

What to expect

With so many brilliant poetry festivals around the country, Verve is a little different to what you’d expect from a literature festival.

Verve is a four day festival in the heart of Birmingham city centre, 5 seconds walk from the shiny New Street Station. We’ve programmed the very best contemporary poetry all in one building. Hear award-winning poets and local legends sharing the same stage. Attend workshops open to all levels. Experience genre-defying performances. Bring the house down at a spoken word and music gig. Brave an open mic. Meet your favourite poets and discover new ones. It’s the friendly, down to earth, cosmopolitan and deliciously bold festival you’ve heard everyone talking about.

Most importantly, we want Verve to be a festival that everyone can enjoy. Whether you’ve been writing for years or are just starting out; whether you’ve attended every festival on the circuit or this is your first; Verve welcomes you.

We’re launching our festival programme in Autumn 2019. Keep your eyes peeled for hints, sneak peeks, giveaways and more by staying in touch through all the usual channels:

Facebook /VervePoetryFestival

Twitter @VervePoetryFest

Instagram /Verve.Poetry.Festival

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Good poetry should be enjoyed by everyone. For information about what we at Verve are doing to make sure our festival is as accessible as possible, read our accessibility statement by clicking below:

Verve Accessibility Statement

For accessibility information regarding the Overhear walking tours, click here.

Verve 2017

Find out more about our inaugural event

Verve 2018

View the gallery from 2018

Verve Specials

Find out more about our one-off events

Verve Poetry Press

Learn about our sister press

The Team

Stuart Bartholomew

Stuart Bartholomew

Co-director & Programming Director

Stuart Bartholomew manages a large Waterstones in Birmingham. As well as being involved in Verve Festival, he is also the co-founder and publisher of sister press Verve Poetry Press. His programming and publishing vision is to celebrate the full breadth of quality poetic activity in the UK and beyond – whatever the style or source – in colourful and exciting ways.

Cynthia Miller

Cynthia Miller

Co-Director & Marketing Director

Cynthia Miller is Co-Director of the Verve Poetry Festival in Birmingham and a Trustee of the Forward Arts Foundation. Her poems have been published in The Rialto, The Best New British and Irish Poets 2018, Primers Volume 2, The Emma Press Anthology of Love, and shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize.

Nellie Cole

Nellie Cole

Festival Operations Manager

Nellie Cole began writing poetry while studying at the University of Birmingham. Her debut pamphlet, Bella, was published by Offa’s Press, in August 2018. She currently acts as a poetry workshop coordinator and mentor, and during Verve 2019, will be working ‘backstage’ to keep the festival flowing.

Alex Ashford

Alex Ashford

Venue Operations Manager

Alex Ashford is a Birmingham based bookshop manager and heritage professional. He has a special interest in poetry and writing about Birmingham’s history and its amazing green spaces.

Fabio Thomas

Fabio Thomas

Marketing Manager

Fabio Thomas is a producer, administrator, musician, writer and cook who lives in Birmingham. He was a particular interest in the music / words crossover, sound poetry and Ivor Cutler’s back catalogue. With minimal encouragement will mix Dylan Thomas and Tangerine Dream to terrifying results.

Kibriya Mehrban

Kibriya Mehrban

University of Birmingham Cultural Intern

Kibriya Mehrban is a recent Creative Writing graduate from the University of Birmingham. She got excited about Verve when the first crowdfunding call-outs appeared in 2016 and has been an avid supporter ever since. Her poems have appeared in the Emma Press anthologies This is Not Your Final Form (2017) and Second Place Rosette (2018).

Sponsors and Partners

Verve couldn’t happen without the generous support of:

Lead Sponsor