The quality of the entries to our annual Verve Festival competitions never fails to surprise and delight us. This year, with the theme of Diversity (what better for a festival with diversity at its heart?) we are again as thrilled as can be with the winning and commended poems chosen by Andrew McMillan and included here. They are as varied in form and content as you might expect, but they do have something in common - a certain feeling that diverse approaches to love and life aren’t to be celebrated. Not yet. Instead these poems sound more like dispatches from lives that are regularly misunderstood and misrepresented. But the attempt at communication is the important thing here. The more we hear, the more we understand, the more we share, the more we will accept and celebrate. There is work to be done. Let this anthology be part of that work, and move things forward. Alongside and among these chosen poems are three poems that were commissioned for this anthology and the companion event from poets with links to the festival. Again you couldn’t hope for three more varied approaches to the same brief both in form, content and length. Jhilmil Breckenridge, Shaun Hill and Jemima Hughes are at different stages of their poetry journey and all have wonderful poetry futures ahead of them. We know you will enjoy these poems. Share them about too. Let’s get these messages heard and savoured. Let’s keep the conversation going.