As many of you know – every year Verve runs a poetry competition. We take in hundreds of submissions from all over the world; get a top-dollar judge to agonise over them and bite their nails; and then put on an event with 30 or so of the poems. The Verve 2017 competition was Birmingham. Then in 2018, it was Cities. Now in 2019, what are we gunna go for? Something beginning with D? Something to do with a geographical space? Deserts? Desserts?[!]

We’ve not got quite that silly yet. For the 2019 Verve Poetry Festival competition we have gone for something which – like Cities and Birmingham – can be widely interpreted. However, no matter what it means to you, it’s undeniably at the very centre of everything Verve does. It runs through the programme, the space we create, the chats we have, the writing we read. It’s what props us up.

This year’s competition theme is Community – with a big old fashioned capital C. From all those folks who crowdfunded us in our first year; to all of the poets who read at the festival, to it’s organisers and team of volunteers; to everyone going ham on twitter about the line-up / GIFs / general tom-foolery (we’re on about those pesky conspirators) – Verve is community, community is Verve. E = mc2. Einstein knew. 

The competition this year will be judged by 2017 and 2018 festival-veteran and all round top-cat Joelle Taylor. Joelle is an award winning poet, playwright, critic, author and editor, and founder of the Poetry Society’s National Youth Slam Championships. Her most recent book, the astonishing Songs My Enemy Taught Me, was published by Outspoken Press in 2017.

We are thrilled to have her back this year to judge our competition and host our Community Themed Poetry Event. Joelle will read all the entries and choose 3 winning poems and 21 commended poems to feature in the anthology. Joelle will also attend and host the Community Poetry event at Verve and introduce the poets.

The competition is now open for entries, which closes at midnight, 31st October 2018.

For all the deets, Ts, Cs and prizes have a read of our competition page.

[Poems about the excellently fantastic & great Verve community will treated equally to all other poems – we promise :–)]