Freeverse Poetry Festival: Brownhills Community Centre, 6 July

Poetry lovers should head to Brownhills this summer for a day of regional poetry from the Black Country… Freeverse is a free poetry festival featuring poets from Walsall, the West Midlands and beyond.

It’s brought to you by Orators and their Opinions open mic and Walsall Poetry Society, and is your chance to dive into poetry for a whole day, for free!

Freeverse takes place on Saturday 6 July at Brownhills Community Centre
starting at midday.


Willis the Poet

willis the poet

“Willis the Poet is without a doubt one of the funniest poets it has been my pleasure to hear perform. His easy yet intensely witty interaction with his audience makes every performance a time of laughter, hilarity and sheer out-and-out fun!”

Rik will not only be performing his unique blend of comedy and poetry all rolled into one, but also hosting a comedy poetry open mic. You can sign up on the day – Rik is keen to welcome all poets to step up and make people laugh.


Holly Daffurn


“Holly Daffurn’s work rages from the political to the confessional, flitting from witty anecdotes to stark, cutting observations. Featuring a combination of rhythmical and fast-paced poems mixed in with carefully crafted passages that shrug off any expectation of rhyme, the uniting feature in all of her work is a distinct and brazen honesty.”

Holly will be headlining one of  three open mics that will take place at the festival. Local poets Gerald Kells and Paul Elwell will also perform later in the day.

Original Plus Poets

Three Original Plus poets from the region will read from their recently published chapbooks. This is your chance to hear three of the finest poets the Black Country has to offer!

Paul McDonald is a Walsall-based award-winning poet, novelist, flash fiction writer and academic. His work has been widely published, including with Tindal Street Press, Indigo Dreams, Cinnamon Press, V.Press and Original Plus. He’s Course Leader for Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton, author of three novels, five poetry collections and a recently published flash fiction collection.

Samantha Roden grew up in Birmingham and now lives in Wolverhampton. She is a poet, academic and educational author and was named one of Eyewear Publishing’s Best New British and Irish Poets, 2017 . Her first Pamphlet, Catch Ourselves in Glass, was published in June 2017 by Original Plus Books.

R .M. Francis is a writer from Dudley, Visiting Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton, and author of four poetry chapbooks, placed with the Black Light Engine Room, Lapwing Publishing and Original Plus. His first full collection with Smokestack Books and his debut novel with Wild Pressed Books are due out in 2020.


Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists


“Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists are a collective of Black Country poets who believe in changing the world one poem at a time. They’re funny, serious, and thoughtful by turns. Above all, they’re very entertaining.”


Find Your Voice Workshop

Local poets Scarlett Ward and Sallyanne Rock will be running a poetry workshop in the afternoon…

scarlett ward

Join poet Scarlett Ward and special guest poet Sallyanne Rock. Take a look at poets who use their accents, colloquialisms and tone-of-voice to strengthen a sense of identity within their poetry. Then use them as inspiration to write your own work. Hints, prompts, games and tips, all in a laid-back and friendly atmosphere.

Free entry: 3.30pm, 20 spaces available, 45 mins duration. Dow be nervous mucka, we’m here to have a laff.


Scarlett Ward is a 26-year-old Wiccan Poet working from Cannock, Staffordshire. She came third in the WoLf poetry competition as judged by Roy McFarlane in January 2019, and her debut collection ache is to be released this summer with Verve Poetry Press.

Sallyanne Rock is a poet and writer living in Worcestershire. Her work appears in various journals online and in print, and she has performed her poetry across the Midlands. She is currently working with Writing West Midlands as an Assistant Writer, running a series of creative writing workshops for young people.


Running Schedule

Midday Doors open

12:15 Introduction and welcome

12:30 Willis the Poet set plus poetry open mic with a comedy theme – sign up on the day

13:20 Break

13:40 Open mic headlined by Holly Daffurn – sign up on the day.

14:30 Break

14:50 R.M. Francis, Paul McDonald and Samantha Roden

15:30 Poetry Workshop

15:40 Break

16:10 Open mic headlined by Gerald Kells and Paul Elwell – sign up on the day

17:20 Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists


The Detail

For more information please email

Free parking at venue. Entry is free but a hat will go round for performers on the day.

Freeverse logo

Freeverse is supported and sponsored by Creative Black Country and supported by the University of Wolverhampton.