Hello poetry people! Wow, have we waited a while to say that again. After taking a break in 2021 we are wildly excited (and relieved) to announce that Verve Poetry Festival will be returning with a bang in February 2022 — we have a lot to catch up on. You’d best buckle up.

No one could have predicted the last year (and a bit) and we sincerely hope that missing us in February 2021 was the biggest of your worries – although we know that’s probably not the case. That said, Verve’s Vth Edition is set to be the joyful welcome back we all need.

We’re returning to the Birmingham Hippodrome from February 16 – 20, 2022 with another four-day festival, full of powerful performances, riveting readings and wonderful workshops. It’s going to be just as vibrant, well-curated and, well, pink as you remember but with some extra accessibility that our new funding plus our experience in lockdown has enabled us to implement. We’re talking online events, BSL interpretation and maybe even some livestreaming…? Basically, watch this space.

Just because we had to take a year out, doesn’t mean we’ve been sitting on our hands. 2022 is the start of some very exciting things for Verve Poetry Festival, and at the tip of the iceberg we have our brand new Online Festival Bookshop. Head on over to browse our shelves for all the poignant poetry you’ve learnt to expect from Verve – in paperback form! We’ve got books from past performers, publishers we’ve partnered with, and poets we’re just big fans of, so there’s plenty to fill your time until we see each other again.

Once you’ve read all the poetry in our bookshop, what is there to do but write your own and send it to a keen judge with an even keener eye? Yes indeed, the Verve Poetry Festival Competition 2022 is now open, welcoming entries on the subject of ‘Beginnings’ to be judged by poetry superstar Caroline Bird. As in previous years, there will be cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, and we’ll be compiling 21 further commended entries, alongside some commissioned work, into a stunning anthology published by our sister press. You’ve got until the end of September to enter, so get writing!

For more details on what we’re looking for and how to get it to us, check out our dedicated competition page below.

meet the judge

Caroline Bird is a poet and playwright. Her 2020 collection, The Air Year, won the Forward Poetry Prize for best collection, was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Awards and was Book of the Year in both The Guardian and The Telegraph. A two-time winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, her first collection Looking Through Letterboxes was published in 2002 when she was 15. 

Caroline will read all the entries and choose 3 winning poems and 21 commended poems to feature in the anthology. Caroline will also attend and host the Beginnings Poetry event at Verve and introduce the attending poets.

See you soon

As we get closer to the festival there will be even more exciting news to share: what we’ve got in store, what we’re doing next and how you can get involved.

To make sure you get first peek, don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list. We’ll even be previewing the programme there, so pass the message on to anyone who you think might be interested in early access to the line-up for our Vth birthday bash!

See you then! 😉

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