“Verse Matters is an active way of bringing people together in solidarity and that really is how it feels – people coming together to share the arts and support each other…. It was a joy to be part of this event and I would absolutely recommend it.” (The State of the Arts, Nov 2015)

Matters of Verse. Verse that Matters.

Verse Matters is a feminist arts event in Sheffield, set up by Rachel Bower. Verse Matters provides a supportive space for poetry, spoken word, storytelling, music and comedy, showcasing the work of talented people in a friendly, safe environment. Each event has a mix of experienced and new performers.

Events are open to all. Each night includes two featured artists, and an open mic session with six performers (five minutes each). The structure is non-hierarchical, and door profits are split between performers.

Rachel is an Artist in Residence (poet) at Bank St Arts in Sheffield and a Cheney Cultural Fellow at the University of Leeds. Rachel set up Verse Matters to bring together poetics and performance: to enable people to experience stories, poems and tales together. Verse Matters was set up to attest to the structural inequalities in society and the arts. To remember that ‘women’s rights’ are diminished without racial equality and economic justice. To bring people together in solidarity. To create a forum for debate, challenge and pleasure.

Some of our performers tell stories that have been erased by society: refugees, detainees, prisoners. Others might read a page of their favourite book, speaking in public for the first time. Others are experienced poets, puppeteers, dramatists and performers. All are respected and appreciated.

These times call for solidarity and for resistance. We need outlets through which to articulate our anger, our sadness, our joy. Verse Matters exists to provide this space.

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