National Poetry Day, the annual mass celebration of poetry and all things poetical, will mark its 21st birthday on Thursday 8 October 2015. Download our free National Poetry Day anthology of Light Poems here, and check out the poems and poets involved here.
All are invited to join in, breaking with the tyranny of prose by thinking of a poem and sharing it imaginative ways, with the hashtags #nationalpoetryday and #thinkofapoem. What does it mean, to see the world as a poet does? The best responses to our Make Like A Poet digital challenge will be blazed across Blackpool Lights on National Poetry Day.
Expect the airwaves to be full of verse, while impromptu poetry festivals and read-a-thons will pop up in thousands of unexpected places, from shops, streets and offices to waiting rooms and train stations. In schools and libraries, members of Chatterbooks book clubs will plunge into poetry. This year’s National Poetry Day theme is Light: proprietors of power stations and lighthouses, opticians, photographers and firework-makers are among the professions participating. In Bristol the National Poetry Day ambassador, Liz Brownlee has even rounded up the city’s light workers – including an astronomer, a firefighter, a cosmologist, a fire-eater and many more – to read poems about light for films to be displayed on the Big Screen in the city centre.
On BBC Radio 4, Andrew Marr, Dominic West and some of Britain’s most-loved poets and performers will mark the day by weaving poetry into the schedule from early morning until late at night. ‘We British: An Epic in Poetry’ will tell the story of Britain through its poetry, from the earliest verses ever written on the British Isles to some of the most recent.
National Poetry Day is co-ordinated by the Forward Arts Foundation, a charity that celebrates poetry and promotes it as part of everyday life.
With Macmillan Children’s Books, it has nominated eleven poets as National Poetry Day Ambassadors, with special responsibility for igniting enthusiasm nationwide.
The best of their freshly composed poems on the subject of light have been launched as an free eBook. Poems they judge unsatisfactory will be used to light fires. A poetry ambulance, staffed by the emergency poet, will be on stand-by.
Learn more about our plans and offers by signing up to our mailing list. In the meantime there are lots of opportunities to join in – we list events of all shapes and sizes in the what’s on section.