National Poetry Day 6th October
Today is National Poetry Day. An annual celebration whose aim is to celebrate excellence in poetry and to increase its audience. Poetry is a vital service, according to the statistics. The National Literacy Trust tells us that in 2020 66.5% of children and young people agreed that writing poetry made them feel better during lockdown. Furthermore, in the same year sales of poetry books rose by 33% in October. And a report by Runnymede Trust and Penguin Random House found that poetry is the most common way for secondary students to encounter a Black, Asian or other minority ethnic author.
The NPD was founded in 1994, 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.
Do you know your haiku from your limerick? Your ode from your epic? There are dozens of different types of poetry. You’ve probably had a go at a few of them yourself, and if you’d like to participate in this year’s celebration, see 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