National Poetry Day to highlight 40 new books focusing on poetry participation

National Poetry Day to highlight 40 new books focusing on poetry participation

The 2020 campaign to mark National Poetry Day on 1st October will highlight a list of 40 new books focused on poetry participation, including work from Michael Rosen, Inua Ellams and Kate Clanchy.

On the Move: Poems about Migration by Michael Rosen and Quentin Blake (Walker), Inua Ellams' The Actual (Penned in the Margins) and Kate Clanchy's How to Grow a Poem (Picador) are to be celebrated as part of the 40 selected works to "focus on the pleasure of participation" on the day, which is marked on 1st October. 

Also on the list are Nikita Gill's Slam, You’re Gonna Wanna Hear This (Pan Macmillan); Joseph Coelho's Poems Aloud (Wide-Eyed Editions); Bhanu Kapil's collection How to Wash a Heart (Liverpool University Press); and The Lost Spells  (Penguin) by Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris. The full list can be read here.

The event's organisers are also seeking the UK's "most poetic region", measured by the number of poetry sharing events including performances, open-mics and poetry slams. Libraries across the UK have pledged to celebrate the day both online and with physical events. 

Gyles Brandreth, author of children's poetry anthology Dancing by the Light of the Moon (Penguin), said: “It’s clear from social media that poetry has had an amazing impact during the pandemic, offering solace and inspiration. People have been reading poetry, writing poetry, learning it by heart. It’s been a grim time in so many ways, but there’s no question; the pick-me-up of poetry has made a powerful and positive difference."

Free downloadable National Poetry Day resources have been made available to education providers working with children of all ages, in schools and libraries. These include lesson plans and activity sheets from The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), the National Literacy Trust, poet John Hegley, the Poetry Archive, Apples and Snakes, the Poetry Society and First Story, which organises National Writing Day each year.

A recent survey by the National Literacy Trust has suggested the appetite for poetry among children and adults has increased during lockdown, with visitors to the NPD website more than doubling since March 2020.  

Susannah Herbert, executive director of the Forward Arts Foundation, which has organised National Poetry Day each year since it began in 1994, said: “Poetry has show itself to be a radically innovative art form during lockdown, bringing people together in virtual public spaces and exciting audiences who want to create as well as consume.”