We begin the week with a round-up of some of the news stories from National Poetry Day.
Billboards go up Around the Country
The poet and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen was amongst the celebrities who took part in the celebrations for National Poetry Day on 7th October. In addition to the live event this year which took place digitally there were also some alive campaigns that featured parent poetry clubs, poetry sharing on social media and displays in bookshops.
Perhaps the biggest thing that happened however was a series of specially commissioned billboards that displayed poems by poets such as Caleb Femi, Imtiaz Dharker, and Warda Yassin. The billboards are situated at a number of different locations all over the country and each one features paper copies of the poem for people to take away to share with friends and family.
There was also a reception that took place at 10 Downing Street where 30 children were invited to recite poetry.
Members of the public were being asked to complete the phrase “I choose poetry because” and share their completed phrases on Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok.
Whitefriargate in Hull is the inspiration behind “The Constant Parade” a new poem that was unveiled on the street as part of the city of Hull’s National Poetry Day celebration.
The poem is the work of the poet-in-residence Vicky Foster and looks at the rich history of the famous street and the long-standing role that it plays in the lives of the people who live and work nearby and also in the city as a whole. The poem was commissioned by Humber Mouth Literature Festival and Hull’s Hight Street Heritage Action Zone.
The poem can be seen in six different locations where it has been recreated with stencils on the pavement for the occasion. Wrecking Ball Press has also released two short films for National Poetry Day, one of which is Foster reading her poem, the other is her talking about the inspiration for the poem.
Greatest Poem Ever Written
A nationwide survey commissioned for National Poetry Day has revealed that “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare is the poem that the nation considered to be the greatest one ever written. It received 18% of the vote.
10% of the vote when to “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth which is often referred to as “I wandered lonely as a cloud. The third place was taken by Edgar Allen Poe for “The Raven” a narrative poem written in 1845, and Rudyard Kipling’s “If”
Whilst the top spots on the list were taken by older poems there were a few more modern ones as well with “Dis Poetry” by Benjamin Zephaniah reaching the number 17 spot on the list.
In what has become something of a tradition both Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall both took to Twitter on National Poetry Day with a reading of a specially chosen poem.
HRH Prince Charles chose William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Imitations of Immortality” whilst his wife opted for “Night Mail” by W.H Auden.