National Poetry Day is a mass participation campaign that inspires people to enjoy, discover and share poems. The celebrations fall this year on 28 September and everyone is invited to join in, whether by organising an event or simply posting a line of poetry on social media with #nationalpoetryday. The theme, this year, is freedom.
National Poetry Day is co-ordinated by Forward Arts Foundation and enjoys the support of the BBC, Arts Council England, the Royal Mail and leading literary and cultural organisations, alongside booksellers, publishers, libraries and schools. Last year the campaign’s reach exceeded 520 million and was the #1 global trend topic on Twitter.
Poetry is undergoing a renaissance. Sales of poetry are at a record high: poets are storming the bestseller lists and finding their way onto Instagram and TV, while last month contemporary poet Kate Tempest performed to thousands at Glastonbury; poetry has never felt so present.
About National Poetry Day
National Poetry Day 2017 will see the launch of a major new four-day festival (Contains Strong Language) devoted to spoken word in Hull, 2017 UK City of Culture, a partnership with the BBC, Hull UK City of Culture and Humber Mouth and other poetry organisations. There will be hundreds of events across the UK and Ireland in celebration with the nation being invited to ‘share a poem’ on Thursday 28 September 2017.
For a second year running National Poetry Day has partnered with BBC Local Radio. Taking their cue from National Poetry Day’s 2017 theme – Freedom – BBC Local Radio across England has been calling on listeners to ‘Free the word’: nominating a truly distinctive local word that deserves to be better known nationally. These 12 words, once chosen, will each be offered to a local poet as the creative spark for a new poem, to be broadcast on the BBC on National Poetry Day, 28th September with Hull 17 poet Isiah Hull composing and performing an overarching poem using the 12 selected local words at the Contains Strong Language festival in Hull.
Visit England are continuing their 2017 ‘Literary Heroes’ campaign with a focus on poets and poetry and will be highlighting the Nation’s poetry hotspots this September, producing a ‘poetry hotspots map’ and video guides made by emerging young poets.
In light of the YouTube success of their Art Speaks project, which curated films of four spoken word poets, Art UK is launching a National Poetry Day competition, calling for young people to record poems about any work of public art in the UK.
Susannah Herbert, Executive Director of National Poetry Day says: “There are tens of thousands of ways into poetry – all different – and in recommending 40 contrasting books to bookshops and libraries we offer a wide range of starting points. Poetry can take the form of a self-help book, a young-adult novel, a chant, a play, a joke, a call to arms, high literature or just beguiling nonsense: it’s the chameleon of artforms. People who still think poetry is off-putting just haven’t met the right poem yet.”
Meryl Halls of the Booksellers Association says: “We know how important poetry is to bookshops across the country. National Poetry Day is a fantastic way to start the conversation about poetry in our everyday lives, and we want to make sure poetry lovers know that the best place to find old favourites and new inspiration is in their local bookshop. We are so pleased that NPD has created some wonderful point of sale materials to bring more readers to the wonders of the genre.”
The BBC is celebrating National Poetry Day across all its channels this year, as are Visit England and Art UK and thousands of schools, libraries, pubs, bus routes, museums and railway stations: the celebrations, on Thursday 28th September 2017, will be impossible to ignore.
There will be hundreds of events across the UK and Ireland including many responding to the invitation to ‘share a poem’ on social media.
For more information go to www.nationalpoetryday.co.uk/
If you prefer your poetry in a book we have 10 copies of Best Loved Poems – A Treasury of Verse by Ana Sampson to be given away. For your chance to receive a copy go to our competitions page.