About Us

Verve Poetry Press is a prize-winning Birmingham based publisher dedicated to promoting and showcasing Birmingham and Midlands poetic talent in colourful and exciting ways.  (Just what you’d expect from a press that had grown out of the giddy and flamboyant annual four days of poetry and spoken word that is Verve Poetry Festival.)

Co-founded by Stuart Bartholomew and Amerah Saleh, the press works hard to publish poets from all corners of Birmingham – poets that represent the city’s varied and energetic qualities and are able to communicate its many poetic stories. While our horizons have expanded beyond Birmingham more recently, there will always be a place for excellent poets from our home city at Verve! 

We publish debut collections from poets with both page and performance backgrounds, and we have a broad sense of what poetry is and can be. We are keen that the poets we publish reflect the variety of our city and our festival – in terms of culture, age and class. We are keen that voices and works that aren’t fully represented in the national poetry discussion get heard.

We also publish debut and between-collection pamphlets by poets we love, and also books to accompany poetry shows which capture the life and vibe of performance focussed poetry experiences. We are looking for colour, energy and open-heartedness in all the works we publish. We are looking for poetry that works in performance and performances that work on the page. We think poetry should be read and heard, spoken and thought. And of course CELEBRATED!!

As we continue to grow so we are beginning to get noticed. In 2019 we were voted Most Innovative Publisher at the Sabotage Awards, and later that year won the Publishers’ Prize at the Michael Marks Pamphlets Awards. One of our first books, the wonderful Besharam by Birmingham poet Nafeesa Hamid, was highly commended for the Forward Prize 2020. Andrew McMillan called us ‘the always exciting Verve Poetry Press.’

With poets such as Luke Kennard, Polarbear, Katrina Naomi, Matt Abbott, Louise Fazackerley and Genevieve Carver already on our list, as well as debutants such as Rupinder Kaur, Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Ali Lewis and Hannah Swingler, you really can’t afford to take your eyes off of us! Sign up to our mailing list HERE, to hear who is featuring in our next publishing season as well as exciting news about the results of our our first very limited submissions window which was open for a month in the summer 2020.