Annual Arts Festival + Poetry Development Initiative

VERVE FESTIVAL

of poetry & spoken word

BIRMINGHAM
WEST MIDLANDS
HIPPODROME / GLEE CLUB / THE HIVE

Cultivating and tending to the poetic landscape of the Midlands by investing in creative expression and literary culture through poetry and spoken word.

OUR STORY

SINCE 2017, VERVE HAS BEEN SYNONYMOUS WITH LIVELY PROGRAMMING, INCLUSIVE SPACE, AND A VIBRANT CELEBRATION OF POETRY IN ALL ITS GLORY.

In addition to our workshops and lectures, VERVE’s Learning Initiative includes outreach programs, a next-genERATION poetry collective and community partnerships to promote literacy, creativity, and cultural exchange. Through collaborations with schools, libraries, and community organisations, we strive to make poetry accessible to all and inspire the next generation of poets and spoken word artists.

DYNAMIC LEARNING INITIATIVE

ACCESSIBLE WORKSHOP SERIES

Through our online poetry workshops led by professional poets, we make the art of poetry accessible to all. We empower learners of all levels to explore poetry culture, hone their craft, and discover creative expression through poetry. Our commitment to accessibility ensures that everyone has the opportunity to engage with poetry, fostering a diverse and inclusive learning community where voices from all backgrounds can thrive.

FREE COMMUNITY POETRY PLATFORM

At our monthly free open mic night in partnership with THE HIVE, a charitable trust supporting those with learning difficulties, we create a welcoming space where poets of all levels can share their voices and express themselves freely. Whether you’re a seasoned performer or stepping onto the stage for the first time, our open mic nights offer a supportive environment to showcase your work and connect with fellow poetry enthusiasts. Join us for an evening of creativity, camaraderie, and community as we celebrate the diverse voices and stories that make poetry come alive.

THE COLLECTIVE

The Birmingham Poets Collective is a community committed to establishing Birmingham as a vibrant hub within the spoken word revolution. Our collective aims to fill the void by creating a unique and influential space that rivals and reshapes the region’s poetry development landscape. 

With an unwavering dedication to nurturing emerging poets, we provide a supportive ecosystem that energises their artistic growth and amplifies their voices. Through experimental workshops, industry seminars, personalised mentorship, access to events, and collective/collaborative excursions, we equip poets with the tools and confidence to embrace their craft and become catalysts for change. 

SCHOOL SLAM

Through our school slam program, we ignite the passion for poetry in young minds by engaging with over 500 children each year. By providing mentorship, resources, and opportunities for self-expression, we empower students to find their voice and share their stories through the power of spoken word. Our school slam initiative not only fosters creativity and confidence but also cultivates empathy, critical thinking, and communication skills, laying the foundation for lifelong learning and personal growth.

YOUNG POETS NETWORK PARTNERSHIP

Collaborating with the Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network, we empower emerging voices. Through free competitions, festival performance slots, and professional workshops, we nurture creativity and foster connections within the poetry community. Join us in celebrating the next generation of poets as they explore their potential and leave their mark on literature.

BBC CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE

Proud local partners for Contains Strong Language, the BBC’s festival celebrating new writing. We worked together on projects that spanned the Commonwealth, from Across Borders to Language is a Queer Thing, championed local poetry and, of course, added VERVE flair to whole festival. With huge names like Linton Kwesi Johnson and Benjamin Zephaniah, plus live recordings of some of BBC Radio’s flagship shows, Contains Strong Language was unlike anything we’d done before.

Our FESTIVAL audience is as diverse as our poetry programme: multicultural, multi-gender, diasporic, international, and hyper-local.

We celebrate inclusivity and connection at VERVE, where everyone is welcomed with open arms.

A VIBRANT COMMUNITY 

Explore a diverse range of voices and experiences through our anthologies, a testament to our commitment to fostering new talent.

7 Anthologies

VERVE’s annual poetry competitions have birthed 7 anthologies, nurturing emerging poets and capturing the essence of each festival.

 

Each year, we celebrate the vibrant creativity of emerging poets by curating anthologies that capture the essence of our festival.

These anthologies serve as a testament to our unwavering dedication to nurturing new talent and amplifying diverse voices.

Through our anthologies, readers experience the heart and soul of contemporary poetry, exploring themes ranging from the climate crisis, queerness, identity and belonging to love and resilience.

Each anthology is a mosaic of unique perspectives, offering a glimpse into the kaleidoscope of human experience.

Our anthologies provide an accessible entry point into the dynamic landscape of modern poetry, celebrating the power of words and the boundless creativity of emerging poets as we continue to shape the literary landscape together.

an ongoing relationship with the poetry school dissects the poetry cannon and celebrates contemporary poetry.

EXPERIMENTAL POETRY LECTURES

“Through our partnership with VERVE Poetry & Spoken Word Festival, we are proud to support the development of creative people, cultivate cultural communities, and actively participate in building a creative and cultural Birmingham.

Together, we shape the future of poetry and spoken word, creating an inclusive space where voices from all backgrounds can thrive and be celebrated.”

– BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME