When we are children, one of the first poems we learn begins, “Roses are red / Violets are blue …” Even when we are children, poetry makes us stop and enjoy the beauty of language.
National Poetry Day is celebrated annually in the UK and Ireland on a Thursday in late September or early October. This year’s events are scheduled for October 3 and focus on the theme of change. It is true that poetry is different things to different people. It can be whimsical or angry, sensitive or silent. Above all, poetry is most effective when it is read out loud for others to share.
CHRONOGRAM OF THE NATIONAL DAY OF POETRY
2009 – First UK Poet Laureate Named
Carol Ann Duffy, the UK’s first openly gay award-winning poet, took her place of literary prominence, ending 400 years of male rule.
1994 – National Poetry Day is created
William Sieghart of the Forward Arts Foundation launched National Poetry Day in a British campaign to promote the benefits of poetry using public performances by leading poets.
1956 – Allen Ginsberg recites “Howl” in San Francisco
Radical Beat poet Allen Ginsberg’s epic poem “Howl” burst onto the San Francisco poetry scene and revolutionized the spoken word around the world.
11th century – “Beowulf” makes literary history
The ancient tale of Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic poem written in Old English with almost 3,200 alliterative lines.
2100 BC – The “Epic of Gilgamesh” was the first poem written
The “Epic of Gilgamesh” was a series of Sumerian poems and has the distinction of being the first written poem in the world.
ACTIVITIES OF THE NATIONAL DAY OF POETRY
Attend a poetry workshop
National Poetry Day features poets in unusual settings. You can attend a “Poetry as Therapy” group or be part of a “Poems in the Kitchen” setting over a cup of tea and munching on a muffin. Libraries, bookstores, hospitals and public transport are preparing events to excite everyone with the fun of poetry.
Take the stage
How about singing a poem during Poetry Karaoke? National Poetry Day has a plethora of activities for those who want to do more than just sit quietly on the sidelines. Take a number and spit out your poem during a poetry slam. A song is just a poem with music, so try that too.
One of the great goals of National Poetry Day events is to expose young people to the power of poetry. Both reading and writing poetry are creative ways to engage children in literature from the beginning. National Poetry Day makes it great to hang out in the library for a day of activities focused on the spoken word. Organize or attend the different children’s literary festivals that await you.
5 REASONS (DON’T RHYME) WHY WE LOVE POETRY
Three of the greatest poets of all time are also top sellers, starting with Shakespeare, followed by Lao-Tzu and Kahlil Gibran.
It’s okay to break the rules
The 17th century poet John Dryden is the father of the frequently ignored grammar rule that makes it a no-no to end a sentence with a preposition.
You can do it anywhere
Sir Walter Scott wrote “Marmion”, his most famous poem, while riding a horse.
Not for everyone
Metrophobia is the fear of poetry while metromania is the compulsive need to write it.
Sometimes ideal for long-winded people
The longest poem in the world is the Mahabharata of India which contains around 1.8 million words.
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL POETRY DAY
It is inspiring
Poetry inspires us to look at the world we live in and to think about the roles we play. Poetry allows us to courageously share our innermost feelings even at times when we don’t feel especially brave. National Poetry Day offers a snapshot of a particular moment in time that encourages us to be more than we think we are. It reminds us of the common bonds that we share as human beings.
It is a story
Poetry allows us to tell a story, either our own or someone else’s. Since the dawn of time, cultures around the world have told tales of their heroes with poems recounting courage or dishonorable death. The poems reveal the values of a society: what is appreciated and the values that are harmful to the whole. The poems speak of an individual’s personal journey, detailing everything one sees and hears along the way.
It is not subject to rules
Poems don’t have to rhyme. e.e. cummings, for example, dismissed traditional punctuation, seeing it as an obstacle to free poetic expression. National Poetry Day creates an open forum for new poets, young poets, established poets, and renegade poets to shake off the conventions of language and freely express outlandish opinions or feelings in a totally loving and safe space.