About

History of Free Verse

Free Verse was first held in 2011 in Exmouth Market, London and was attended by 23 poetry presses. It was received enthusiastically by publishers, writers and readers. It was organised by Charles Boyle of CB editions, with a readings programme coordinated by Chrissy Williams.

Free Verse 2012, organised jointly by Charles and Chrissy, was held in Candid Arts, London, and was attended by 50 presses, more than twice as many as the previous year. It included more free readings, workshops organised by the Poetry School and saw a marked increase in audience numbers.

Free Verse 2013, organised by Charles and Chrissy with Joey Connolly, was held in Conway Hall, with almost 60 exhibitors, with the addition of an evening do at the Square Pig & Pen on Red Lion Square.

Charles Boyle stepped down for the 2014 Free Verse, but fellow organisers Chrissy and Joey Connolly stayed on. The fair took place in Conway Hall again, with the addition of an evening do at the nearby Rugby Tavern and an extra stage of readings in the Garden Cafe in Red Lion Square. We held two discussions, and the readings showcased the work of over 60 poets, including new pamphlets, anti-war poetry, new generation voices, a Choc-Lit poetry anthology, poetry from Japan and much, much more.

The 2015 - 2017 fairs were also held in Conway Hall, featured more than 80 exhibitors and again had a packed programme of readings and discussions. The core team in this time was also bolstered by Jemima Foxtrot (Volunteers Coordinator), Pavlos Johnathan (Social Media) and Will Harris (Readings Manager).


In 2018, Free Verse will be managed by The Poetry Society, one of the UK’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry nationally and internationally. We run innovative education and commissioning programmes, and have a packed calendar of publications, performances, readings and competitions – and are delighted to be working on this year’s Fair in association with the Institute of English Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. The IES will be making the Fair welcome at their home in Senate House.

Chrissy Williams writes ‘Joey Connolly and I are proud to have built what feels like an essential poetry event over the last seven years, growing from 22 publishers in a church hall to a large-scale event with over 80 exhibitors. The Poetry Book Fair needs to keep growing though, and we know the Poetry Society will be able to give it a more stable and secure future. We’re delighted that they've agreed to take it on, and look forward to seeing how it flourishes in their hands.

Thank you to all our cheerful volunteers over the years and to Jemima Foxtrot for managing them; to Pavlos Johnathan (Social Media) and Will Harris (Readings) for all their help last year; to founder Charles Boyle for having had the great idea in the first place; and to Joey Connolly, without whose management skills the Fair would surely have crumbled into dust years ago.

Thank you also for your support over the years – we hope to see you at this year’s Fair, only this time from the audience!'


2017 Exhibitors

Agenda, Allardyce, Barnett, Publishers, Anathema, Anima Poetry Press, Arachne Press, Assorted Translations, Boiler House Press, The British Haiku Society, Burning Eye Books, Carcanet Press, Cinnamon Press, clinic, Dempsey & Windle, Dream Catcher Books, The Emma Press, etruscan books, Faber & Faber, Face Press, Flarestack Poets, Forward Arts Foundation, Gatehouse Press, Green Bottle Press, Guillemot Press, Hearing Eye, Henningham Family Press, Hercules Editions, Holland Park Press, Hurst Street Press, If a Leaf Falls Press, if p hen q, Inpress, Isobar Press, Knives Forks and Spoons Press, Lautus Press, The Lifeboat, Little Island Press, Live Canon, Longbarrow Press, The Melos Press, Modern Poetry in Translation, MOOT PRESS, Mother's Milk Books, New Departures/Poetry Olympics, Nine Arches Press, Out-Spoken Press, Oversteps Books Ltd, Paekakariki Press, Paper Swans Press, Parthian Books, Partus Press, Peepal Tree Press, Penned in the Margins, Platypus Press, Poem Flyer, The Poetry Book Society, The Poetry School, The Poetry Society, The Poetry Translation Centre, Rack Press, The Rialto, Seren, Shearsman Books, Sidekick Books, Silhouette Press, Sine Wave Peak, smith|doorstop Books / The Poetry Business, Society of Authors Poetry and Spoken Word Group, Stairwell Books, Templar, Test Centre, Tuba Press, V. Press, Valley Press, Vane Women Press, William Cornelius Harris Publishing, The Yew Tree Press, zimZalla


2016 Exhibitors


A Midsummer Night’s Press, Agenda, Allardyce, Barnett, Publishers, Ambit Magazine, Arc, Assorted Translations, Blart Books, Bloodaxe, British Haiku Society, Carcanet, CB editions, Cinnamon Press, Controlled Explosion Press, Corbel Stone Press, Crater Press, Egg Box, Emma Press, Equinox Press, Etruscan Books, Eyewear Poetry, Faber & Faber, Fair Acre Press, Five Leaves Press, Flarestack Poets, Forward Prizes, Frogmore Press, Gatehouse Press, Green Bottle Press, HappenStance, Hearing Eye, Hercules Editions, Holland Park Press, if p then q, Inpress, Isobar Press, Katabasis, Liquorice Fish Books, Literary Pocket Books, London Magazine, Melos Press, Mother’s Milk Books, Modern Poetry in Translation, Neon Books, New Departures/Poetry Olympics, Nine Arches Press, Original Plus and The Journal, Oversteps Books Limited, Paekakariki Press Ltd, Paper Swans Press, Pearbox Press, Penned in the Margins, Poetry Archive, Poetry Book Society, Poetry Library, Poetry School, Poetry Society, Poetry Translation Centre, Quirky Press, Rack Press, Reality Street, Red Squirrel, Rialto, Roncadora Press, Seren Books, Shearsman Books, Sidekick Books, Singing Apple Press, smith|doorstop books / the Poetry Business, Smokestack Books, Soundswrite Press, Stairwell Books, Stonewood Press, Stranger Press, Telltale Press, Templar Poetry, Tuba Press, Two Rivers Press Ltd, Ugly Duckling Presse, V Press, Valley Press, Veer Books, Versal, William Cornelius, Harris Publishing, Words Press, zimZalla


2015 Exhibitors 


A Midsummer Night's Press, Agenda, Allardyce, Barnett, Publishers, Ambit, Arc Publications, Assorted Translations, Blart Books, Bloodaxe Books, British Haiku Society, Carcanet Press, CB Editions, Cinnamon Press, Controlled Explosion Press, Corbel Stone Press, Crater Press, Egg Box Publishing, Emma Press, The, Equinox Press, Etruscan Books, Eyewear Publishing, Faber & Faber, Fair Acre Press, Five Leaves Press, Flarestack Poets, Forward Arts Foundation, Frogmore Press, The, Gatehouse Press, Green Bottle Press, HappenStance Press, Hearing Eye, Hercules Editions, Holland Park Press, if p then q, Inpress, Isobar Press, Katabasis, Liquorice Fish Books, Literary Pocket Books, London Magazine Editions, The, Melos Press, Mother's Milk Books, Modern Poetry in Translation, Neon Books, New Departures / Poetry Olympics, Nine Arches Press, Original Plus, Oversteps Books Limited, Paekakariki Press Ltd, Paper Swans Press, Pearbox Press, Penned in the Margins, Poetry Archive, Poetry Book Society, Poetry Business, The, Poetry Library, Poetry School, Poetry Society, Poetry Translation Centre, Quirky Press, Rack Press, Reality Street, Red Squirrel Press, Rialto, The, Roncadora Press, Seren Books, Shearsman Books, Sidekick Books, Singing Apple Press, Smith | Doorstop Books, Smokestack Books, Soundswrite Press, Stairwell Books, Stonewood Press, Stranger Press, Telltale Press, Templar Poetry, Tuba Press, Two Rivers Press Ltd, Ugly Duckling Presse, V. Press, Valley Press, Veer Books, Versal, William CorneliusHarris Publishing, Words Press, zimZalla


2014 Exhibitors



13 Pages, A Midsummer Night's Press, Acumen Publications, Agenda Poetry, Allardyce, Barnett, Publishers, Ambit, Annexe, Arc Publications, Blart, Bloodaxe Books, Burning Eye Books, Candlestick Press, Carcanet Press, CB editions, Cultured Llama, Egg Box, Emma Press, Enitharmon Press, Etruscan Books, Eyewear Publishing, Faber and Faber, Five Leaves Publishing, Flarestack Poets, Gatehouse Press, Grey Hen Press, HappenStance, Hearing Eye, Henningham Family Press, Hercules Editions, Holland Park Press, if p then q, Isobar Press, Knives Forks and Spoons Press, Leafe Press, Melos Press, MIEL, New Departures, Nine Arches Press, Oystercatcher Press, Peepal Tree Press, Penned in the Margins, Picador Poetry, Rack Press, Reality Street, Roncadora Press, Seren Books, Shearsman Books, Sidekick Books, Smokestack Books, Templar Poetry, Tuba Press, Two Rivers Press, Valley Press, Veer Books, Ward Wood Publishing, West House Book, Worple Press, zimZalla, Forward Arts Foundation, Inpress Books, Poetry Library, Poetry School, Poetry Society, Poetry Translation Centre


2013 Exhibitors




Acumen Publications, Allardyce, Barnett, Publishers, Ambit Books, Annexe, Arc Publications, Arrowhead Press, Bloodaxe Books, Burning Eye Books, Carcanet Press, CB Editions, Contraband Books, Crater Press, Critical Documents, Cultured Llama, Egg Box Publishing, Emma Press, Etruscan Books, Eyewear Publishing, Faber and Faber, Five Leaves Press, Flarestack Poets, Forward Arts Foundation, Francesca Kay, Grey Hen Press, HappenStance Press, Hazard Press, Hearing Eye, Henningham Family Press, Holland Park Press, If P Then Q, Inpress Books, Knives, Forks and Spoons, Melos Press, MIEL, Mulfran Press, New Departures, Nine Arches Press, Picador, Poetry Library, Poetry School, Poetry Society, Poetry Translation Centre, Rack Press, Reality Street, Roncadora Press, Seren, Shearsman Books, Sidekick Books, Smokestack Books, Stairwell Books, Templar Poetry, Two Rivers Press, Ugly Duckling Presse, Valley Press, Veer Books, Ward Wood Publishing, West House Books, Worple Press, zimZalla, ©_© Press

2012 Exhibitors



A Midsummer Night's Press, Agenda Magazine & Editions, Allardyce, Barnett, Publishers, Anvil Press, Arc Publications, ARCADE Publishers, Arrowhead Press, Burning Eye Books, Candlestick Press, CB editions, Cinnamon Press, Donut Press, Egg Box, Enitharmon, Etruscan Press, Eyewear Publishing, Five Leaves, Flipped Eye, HappenStance, Hearing Eye, Huxley Scientific Press, if p then q, Leafe Press, Like This Press, Melos Press, MIEL, Mulfran Press, New Departures/Poetry Olympics, Nine Arches Press, OFF_PRESS, Pearbox Books, Penned in the Margins, Picador Poetry, Pighog Press, Poetry Archive, Poetry Book Society, Poetry Library, Poetry School, Poetry Society, Poetry Translation Centre, Rack Press, Reality Street, Roncadora Press, Seren Books, Shearsman Books, Smokestack Books, Soaring Penguin Press, Stairwell Books, Templar Poetry, Two Rivers Press, Valley Press, Ward Wood, West House Books, White Adder Press, zimZalla.

2011 Exhibitors


Anvil, Arc, Carcanet, CB Editions, Donut, Egg Box, Enitharmon, Flipped Eye, HappenStance, If p then q, Nine Arches, Penned in the Margins, Poetry Book Society, Rack Press, Reality Street, Salt, Shearsman, Shoestring, Sidekick, Ward Wood, Waterloo, Waywiser, zimZalla.