Miller joins National Poetry Day celebrations

Miller joins National Poetry Day celebrations

This week's Forward Prize winner Kei Miller will be among poets at an afternoon of free readings at the Southbank Centre today (2nd October), as part of the many events marking what is National Poetry Day.

Miller will join Julia Donaldson and John Hegley at the event.

Meanwhile, The Saison Poetry Library, based at the Southbank Centre, is launching a free e-loan service for its members for the first time. The library, set up in 1953, will offer 200 titles from its collection for download to phones, tablets and e-readers.

Southbank Centre's poetry librarian Chris McCabe said poetry lagged behind other areas of reading when it came to digital transition. He said: "Aside from a few innovative publishers and organisations the poetry world is miles behind in readers taking up the journey into reading poetry across digital formats. A recent piece for The Bookseller stated that reading fiction on digital platforms will take over hardback and paperback by 2018 despite readers of poetry on digital platforms only totalling three percent. The Poetry Library's e-loan service will provide a free platform for readers to explore poetry in e-books and audio, and is in addition to the library’s range of print collections which will continue to grow steadily alongside this new offer."

Other events taking place around the country to mark the day include a Festival of Poetry at Blackpool Central Library, a poetry takeover at Bedford Central Library, and a poetry open mic session at the Senate House of the University of London, as well as dozens of other events.

The Forward Prizes for Poetry were given out on Tuesday ahead of National Poetry Day, with Kei Miller winning the prize for best collection with The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet). The Felix Dennis Prize for best first collection went to Liz Berry for Black Country (Chatto) and the best single poem prize was given to Stephen Santus for "In a Restaurant".