From the 20th to the 23rd February, Verve Poetry and Spoken Word Festival returned for its fourth year, at its new venue of the Birmingham Hippodrome. Since its inaugural year back in 2017, Verve has gone from strength to strength, outgrowing its first home at Waterstones, while continuing to host an engaging programme of talks, workshops and performances.

The 2020 festival, however, would be the final year I would work with Verve, as I move instead to help organise the Stratford Poetry Festival. With my new role at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust as Creative Programme Coordinator, the impending completion of my MA, and my desire to get back to my own creative practice, it feels like the right time to be stepping down from Verve.

It has been quite the journey for me – having begun as a Festival Volunteer in Verve’s first year, to taking on more organisational and operational roles as Operations Manager, I end my four-year term with a wealth of experience. I’ve been able to work with some great people, become more rooted in the poetry world, operate in some interesting venues, and I hope, leave my mark on what has become a well respected and well loved festival.

More than anything, I want to give a big shout-out and ‘thank you!’ to Lizzie and Kibriya, who kept me sane through this most recent festival, and whose hard work really kept the festival afloat!

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