Could you be the next Stamford Poet Laureate?

Stamford’s popular spoken word Verse Festival is back for 2024, offering performance poetry and the chance to become the town’s Laureate.

Stand-ups include Joelle Taylor, The Very Grimm Brothers, Ash Dickinson and Luke Wright, for the event which runs from Wednesday 24th - Saturday 27th April.

The highlight will be the Poet Laureate Final, where the shortlisted finalists for this busy and varied role will deliver their lines in front of a panel of judges in a free event at Stamford Arts Centre Gallery.

Anyone who enjoys writing and performing poetry can apply online via Completed application forms can be submitted from 1st March and emailed to

Cabinet member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Paul Stokes, said: “Stamford Verse Festival is a small but perfectly formed celebration of the spoken word, which reflects the town’s thriving poetry scene.

“The culmination of this is to find a local poet to hold the honorary title of Poet Laureate for one year. Throughout the year the Poet Laureate will work with Stamford Arts Centre, Stamford Town Council and within the community to develop opportunities to help make poetry part of the life of the town.

“Budding or established poets are equally welcome to enter, as one of the advantages of poetry as a medium is that it includes something for everyone.”

The closing date for applications is the 12th April. The final will be held at the monthly open mic night, Pint of Poetry, on Wednesday 24th April at 7.30pm.

A Youth Laureate will also be chosen for applicants between ages of 16 and 25, via the same entry form.

A panel of judges will decide on a winner, including the Mayor of Stamford and the current Stamford Poet Laureates.

Poetry continues to thrive in Stamford, where the town's Arts Centre supports poetry and the spoken word, bringing some of the biggest names to perform.

Visitors can also get in on the act with the regular Pint of Poetry event where everyone can perform.

Festival highlights:

Thursday 25th April: JOELLE TAYLOR C+NTO & OTHERED POEMS, 7.30pm

Winner of the 2021 T. S. Eliot Prize, poet and author Joelle Taylor brings a selection of her work to Stamford following an international tour that included Sydney Opera House. C+NTO tells the story of the LGBT counterculture of the 1990s.

Stamford Arts Centre Gallery; £15



Grimm Ade (poems) and Grimm John (guitar), live at Castle Grimm, share their innermost fears, woes and décor challenges, the relief of wild swimming, rhubarb crowns, Scandonoir and Castle Grimm’s secret. Heart-warming and funny. Told through poems, music, tiny stories and an aeronautical display, wind permitting.

Stamford Arts Centre Cellar Bar; £10


Saturday 27th April: SHAKESPEARE AT THE STONE, 11am

Join Stamford Poets at the Stamford Poetry Stone as they celebrate the birthday of William Shakespeare.

St Michael’s Churchyard; free event


Saturday 27th April: PAGE TO STAGE: ASH DICKINSON, 2pm

Join professional poet Ash Dickinson for a workshop designed in bringing your work to life. There will be opportunity to write, opportunity to read, opportunity to perform. For those who’d like to write poetry and share it, here’s an opportunity to transform.

Stamford Arts Centre Ballroom £10


Saturday 27th April: LUKE WRIGHT’S SILVER JUBILEE, 7.30pm

Luke Wright has built up a reputation for being one of Britain’s most popular live poets. This show is an excavation of lives lived and not lived. Wright navigates his audience through a warm and honest hour of poems and stand-up, with the directness and pathos that has made him one of the most popular live poets in England.

Stamford Arts Centre Theatre; £15

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