What is National Poetry Day?

National Poetry Day Thursday 2 October 2014

National Poetry Day is the nation’s biggest celebration of poetry – and though the date has passed, the excitement lives on. Here are a few highlights.

Alan Bennet reading Larkin on the Today programme. Michael Sheen and Aardman creating a short animation of Dylan Thomas poem. Thousands of participants sharing their favourite lines of poetry online in the  #thinkofapoem challenge. Poetry ambulances. Poetry police. Poetry fire-brigades. Poetry tube-stations. Poetry supermarkets, parks, bus-stops and post-boxes. This year’s theme is Remember, so if you remember a poem, however short, pass it on.

Poetry is the one art form you can keep in your head, and this year Cambridge University has launched a massive Poetry and Memory survey on National Poetry Day to discover what poems the nation remembers.  Poetry is sticky and stays with you: surprise us with what you know.

Even though the 24 hours jamboree of the Day is over,  teachers and students can keep its spirit alive by using our free activity/lesson plans and cool posters and sharing the fun via Twitter #thinkofapoem

Here’s a set of eight new poems for primary school children by five leading contemporary children’s poets.

To keep in touch by Liz Brownlee
Remembering by Liz Brownlee
The Family Book by Brian Moses
Poets are Photographers by Paul Cookson
Remembering is our duty by Paul Cookson
Dear Mug by Roger Stevens
In an old dog’s memory by Brian Moses
Whole body memory by Jan Dean

And some favourite classic poems on this year’s theme of Remember.  Use the Remember tag on our poetry page for more.

I remember, I remember by Thomas Hood
Do you remember an inn, Miranda? by Hilaire Belloc
Remember me when I am gone away by Christina Rossetti
Remember, remember the fifth of November Anon

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.

 

 

FAQs

Who can put on an event?
Anyone. We welcome events of all shapes and sizes, whether from individuals, groups or organisations.  And if you are using our logo, take pictures and tweet them with the hashtag #nationalpoetryday

What does it cost?
It’s FREE. Just register your event below to be listed on the ‘what’s on’ page.
You are welcome to charge for your event.

How do I register?
Just fill out the form here with details of where, when, what and who.

 

All about National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day was founded in 1994 by William Sieghart, and has engaged millions of people across the country reading, writing and listening to poetry.

From 1999 onwards, National Poetry Day has been loosely themed: the theme is not prescriptive but it serves to kick start inspiration. Our partners at The Poetry Society have a great page with more detail here.

2013: Water, water everywhere
2012: Stars
2011: Games
2010: Home
2009: Heroes and Heroines
2008: Work
2007: Dreams
2006: Identity
2005: The Future
2004: Food
2003: Britain
2002: Celebration
2001: Journeys
2000: Fresh Voices
1999: Song Lyrics

 

What Happened in 2013

Here’s a little of what happened in 2013, when the theme was Water:

We had Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas, read by the Prince of Wales (with the faintest of Welsh lilts). We commissioned a gorgeous 30 second animation. We had Carol Ann Duffy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sean O’BrienPam Ayres, Alice Oswald, Felix Dennis, Jo Shapcott, E J Thribb, Lemn Sissay, Simon Armitage, the Vogons, George the Poet…. We relished the Grimsby fishermen speaking the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, performance poets posted throughout the London underground, Jordan from Rizzle Kicks showing off his tattoo of Kipling’s If alongside Mr Gee at Wembley and the 24 hour incarceration of four Welsh poets, with pen, paper, coffee and orders to create 100 new poems. John Cooper Clarke, the original iconoclastic punk poet, was live-streamed  from Newcastle to 14 venues throughout the land – from Dundee to Southampton. A new Young Poet Laureate for London was announced at the House of Commons.  We assembled poems, films, lesson plans, activities  and posters here to help you celebrate with us and each other.