National Poetry Day 5th October 2023
Today is National Poetry Day, a celebration that has been marked on the first Thursday of October since its inception in 1994. William Sieghart is a publisher whose stated aim is to help people “drop their fear of the p-word” . To that end, Sieghart founded this celebration of excellence in poetry, and since that first day, NPD has reached an audience of more than 500 million people.
The celebration is not yet 30 years old, but poetry itself is as old as humanity. It may, in fact, be our oldest form of artistic expression; it certainly predates literacy. The word poetry comes from the ancient Greek poieo meaning “I create”, and humans have been creating down the centuries, using poetry to articulate every emotion as well as to record oral histories, and important events, to entertain and to offer prayer.
There are dozens of different types of poetry, from haiku to limerick, ode to epic. But maybe you prefer one of the more modern free-verse forms. Maybe you’ve even had a go a writing a few of them yourself. If you’d like to test your poetry skills on a wider audience, why not check out the various competitions currently open for submission. Find out more here:
The theme of this year’s National Poetry Day is Refuge. Read more about the theme here:
Library Resources for National Poetry Day
Of course, we have a huge range of poetry resources that you can access via LibrarySearch.
We have books on how to read it, how to write it, how the greats do it, and why it matters. We also have access to the Poetry Archive which houses recordings of poets reading their own work out loud. It features the works of contemporary poets alongside historic records of Seamus Heaney, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot and many others. Of course, we may be biased, but we believe that one of the best poems within the archive, is Library Ology, written and presented by Benjamin Zephaniah. You can listen to it here:
Or how about checking out Poets on Screen, a library of 879 video clips of poets reading their own and other poets’ work. We may be biased, but we love this tender and moving poem – The Keepsake – written and read here by Fleur Adcock (spoiler alert – it features witty librarian jargon).
Learn more about the power of reading in our post on International Literacy Day.
By Lesley McRobb
Image source: Unsplash Álvaro Serrano