Charleston’s Poet Laureate announces Free Verse, the city’s first poetry festival

Marcus Amaker

Charleston, SC’s first poet laureate, Marcus Amaker, and the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs announce Free Verse: Charleston’s first poetry festival.

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

“Poetry changes people. Everyone walks away with a deeper sense of presence after seeing a poetry performance. My journey has led me to visit many schools to do poetry workshops with students. I’ve seen third and fourth graders use their imagination to write inspiring words. Teaching poetry to kids is my life’s work and I’ve always wanted to bring a festival to Charleston.” Amaker said.

Read his whole statement here:

To find out more about Free Verse, visit

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