National Poetry Day marks its 21st year today (Thursday 8th October), backed by celebrity support.
To celebrate the occasion, digital sharing project Make Like a Poet has engaged Professor Stephen Hawking, Sean Bean, Samantha Morton, Juliet Stevenson and Neil Nunes to read the words of Hafez, Dylan Thomas, Sarah Howe, Michael Symmons Roberts and Edna St Vincent Millay, with poetry written and read by Aoife Mannix, for free download.
Designers Anthony Burrill, Laure Prouvost, Bridget Smith and Kathleen Herbert were co-commissioned by Thirteen Ways and The Space, in partnership with National Poetry Day and the BBC, to work in collabortion with poets and famous voices to launch the digital sharing project that enables all smartphone users to share lines of poetry, plus images, voice recordings, short films across the web.
The most creative public responses, shared through #nationalpoetryday, will be selected by leading graphic artist Anthony Burrill to appear on the Blackpool Illuminations - a display that stretches for more than five miles - on National Poetry Day. The theme of National Poetry Day this year is light.
To coincide the BBC is presenting a major season ‘Contains Strong Language’, celebrating the power of poetry, that runs throughout October.
National Poetry Day was founded by the Forward Arts Foundation and last year reached more than 50 million people.