The mission

The Free Verse Festival is the City of Charleston, SC’s first poetry festival. Our mission is to uplift the community by providing eclectic poetry events and workshops at multiple venues in Downtown and West Ashley. We’ll collaborate with the Charleston County School District to put poets in schools to promote the power of the written word. We’ll also treat poetry as public art, putting poems on sidewalks, napkins, t-shirts, billboards, buses and more.

The festival

The Free Verse Festival will consist of three parts.

Part I. Poetry as public art.

Locals will see poetry on napkins, buildings, art galleries, restaurants, billboards, t-shirts, sidewalks and more. All of the poems used will be written by local elementary students.

Part 2. Workshops and events for students.

We’ll collaborate with several organizations to host workshops for elementary and high school students. These workshops will be lead by local and regional poets. There will also be events for youth who would like to share their work with the public.

Part 3. Poetry at night.

An eclectic mix of events will happen during the festival at many venues. Some examples? Poetry and hip-hop, poetry and jazz, readings by the Poetry Society of South Carolina and even poetry and pancakes. Stay tuned for more info!

The hashtags


The origin

The Free Verse Festival is the brainchild of Marcus Amaker, Charleston’s first poet laureate.

The army

Damarius Allen
Derek Berry
Danielle DeTiberus
Matthew Foley
Ethan Fugate
Matt Hampton
Mary Harris
Queen Christine
Melanee Molette
TyQuan Morton
McKayla Watkins
Marjory Wentworth

If you’d also like to help, please send us an email.


The Cooper School’s intentional model of progressive education means your child will experience an integrated, rigorous, and individualized curriculum based on research and experience. The school’s attention to the whole child means we balance academics, athletics, and emotional intelligence. The model of creative, contemporary teaching makes learning joyful every day. Learn more at