Home Page

Welcome to Ver Poets. We are a St Albans based poetry society with a national and international membership. Please explore our website to find out about our programme of poetry events, poetry competitions and benefits of membership. Also visit our Facebook Page. Venue for monthly meetings, see below.

See below for details of our open competition and forthcoming events. See the competitions page for the results of previous Ver Poets Competitions.

Venue for monthly meetings:  St Michael’s Church Parish Centre, St Albans AL3 4SJ unless we indicate otherwise (opposite the Verulamium Museum – plenty of free parking available). Usually on the 3rd Friday of the month at 8 pm. Entry: £4 non-members; £2 members. Refreshments served at the interval. Open Mic in second half at most meetings

Ver Poets Open Competition 2016

Adjudicator: Andrew McMillan

Closing Date: April 30th 2016


This year’s Open Competition is to be judged by Andrew McMillan. Andrew McMillan was born in South Yorkshire in 1988 and lectures in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University. His debut collection, physical, was a Poetry Book Society recommendation, shortlisted for the Forward Prize, the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. He has contributed to The Echo Chamber on BBC Radio 4 and Free Thinking on BBC Radio 3. He is one of the judges for the 2015 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.

Poems must be no more than 30 lines in length. They may be on any theme and in any form. The competition is open to anybody aged 16 or over. Competitors may submit any number of poems for a fee of £4.00 per poem, 3 poems for £10, £2 per poem thereafter.

Selected and prizewinning poets will be informed by post in June and prizes will be awarded at our poetry afternoon on Saturday, July 2nd 2016 at The Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans.

Download the entry form from here.

Poetry and Songs of the Middle East with Ruth Padel

More than 70 people attended this event at the Maltings Arts Theatre. The focus of the evening was a reading by the distinguished author Ruth Padel from her book Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth.

Members of the St Albans Islamic Centre recited classic poems translated from the Arabic. And the Jewish poet Yvonne Green read translations from Hebrew as well as some of her own work.

There were musical interludes by the Cretan musician and singer Kalia. And in the interval snacks of hummus, falafel, pickles and flatbreads were served, donated by the Vine Leaves restaurant in Harpenden.
Ruth Padel said it was “An absolutely magical event. I have never experienced such an intimate and genuine sense of togetherness between performers and audience in a poetry reading before; I felt both humbled and awed that my one small collection had sparked off something of such serious power.

Forthcoming Events

Metaphysical Poetry with Alan Murray

Friday, January, 15th at 8.00pm

Bring a metaphysical poem to read. Alan Murray will lead this evening exploring what makes poetry ‘metaphysical’. Alan’s poetry has been described as speculative, imaginative and often amusing, qualities which will be apparent at this meeting, no doubt.

Second Light Network Poetry Reading

Friday, February 19th at 8.00pm

Dilys Wood, Anne Stewart, and Katherine Gallagher will be leading this evening of readings from two recent anthologies of women’s poetry published by Second Light: Her Wings of Glass and Fanfare.
Founded in 1995, this group publishes the poetry magazine, ARTEMISpoetry, twice a year.

Forget any prejudices you may have about women’s subjects and styles. When you buy this book prepare to be knocked sideways.

John Killick on Her Wings of Glass.

Ten Liners Prize Evening

Friday, March 18th at 8.00pm

Anne Stewart, the judge for this year’s members’ competition, will award prizes to the winners and read from her own work in the second half. The winner of many prizes, including the Bridport, and a recent Hawthornden Fellowship, Anne also manages poetrypf, a website for poets.

Shakespeare the Poet

Friday, April 15th at 8.00pm

The Bard’s career as a poet is less well known than his playwriting. What were his achievements in poetry and how would he be regarded if he were ONLY a poet? Readings from his 2 major narrative poems, the sonnets and commentary and context from Shakespeare scholars.

Terry Jones will lead this event.

Anniversary Exhibition

Sunday 24th April – Sunday 8th May 50th

Poems, pamphlets, posters, and more from 50 years of Ver Poets’ activity on display at St Albans Central Library.

Poetry Afternoon – Celebrating Open Competition 2016

Saturday, 2nd July at 2.00pm at The Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans AL1 3HL

Join us for an afternoon of prize-winning poetry. Andrew McMillan will award the prizes and read from physical, his prize winning collection, in the second half.

Unguarded Gold

Please contact us to find out how to obtain our anthology published in memory of our founder, May Ivimy Badman and featuring poems by Ver poets and friends of the society. New Bargain Price £5.00 Includes poems by John Mole, Carole Satyamurti, Alan Brownjohn, Katherine Gallagher, Roger Garfitt, Lotte Kramer and many more published and unpublished poets.