This books contains the winning and commended poems from the VERVE Festival 2022 competition on the theme of BEGINNINGS. We hoped that this year’s poems would, in part, reflect the pause that the pandemic that shall not be named has forced upon us all, some violently, some peacefully, but all of us together, pausing. We hoped they would also, in part, be a celebration of the opportunities that this brief pause might have given us, the new directions that may have emerged as a result. But the pandemic has been a harrowing thing for many, with loved ones lost, careers ended, financial struggles, and these things won’t just disappear with a vaccine and the return of live arts events. With every beginning there is also an end, and not all that is new is for the best. These poems, in part, deal with these issues and also do so many other things! As we all experience things that are different – and things that are the same differently – so these poems jump aside from each other and claim their own space. But it feels like there is a freshness to them – a new energy that perhaps wasn’t there before. Perhaps they have this in common. We can’t wait to see where these beginnings lead us!