National Poetry Day to unveil billboards in five UK cities

National Poetry Day to unveil billboards in five UK cities

National Poetry Day, the organisation behind the UK's largest annual celebration of the art, has commissioned billboards in five UK cities to feature poems from local poets.

Imtiaz Dharker’s poem "Choice" will appear on the streets of Glasgow while "Thirteen" by Caleb Femi (pictured) will be displayed in London. Caleb Parkin’s "Shrinking Violets" will appear in Bristol, Marvin Thompson’s "May 8th, 2020" is in Cardiff and Warda Yassin’s "Weston Park" will be seen in Sheffield. The billboards are being produced in partnership with creative street advertising specialists Jack Arts. 

This year National Poetry Day has asked poets and partner organisations to respond to the phrase "I choose poetry because". Their replies will be featured across Twitter, TikTok and Instagram on 7th October .

The organisation's 2021 recommended poetry books line-up features 43 new poetry books from 26 publishers – its largest selection to date.

Mónica Parle, executive director of the Forward Arts Foundation, said: "We would love National Poetry Day 2021 to be the biggest yet and help every reader discover poetry that brings them joy, solace, a sense of belonging. All these gifts are beautifully – almost magically – found in poetry in a direct, personal way."

The organisation was founded in 1994 with the Forward Arts Foundation and William Sieghart. He said: "It has been incredible to see the growing popularity of poetry through the years, not only in books but across social media, often being turned to the most in times when people are looking to connect. The coronavirus pandemic has seen us facing many difficult challenges and I hope that all the fantastic books and poems being shared on National Poetry Day will spread much joy, and help to open conversations between friends and families about how they are feeling."