National Poetry Day is being marked today (4th October) with an event at London's South Bank.
The National Poetry Society, which co-ordinates the Day, is holding the event with Southbank Centre from 1pm to 6pm, with an afternoon of free poetry readings compered by Roger McGough, including performances from Dannie Abse, Christopher Reid and Helen Mort. Secondary school pupils from across the country have worked to produce embroidered tents, covered in lines of poetry, which will appear along the South Bank.
The theme of this year's event is stars, with various themed events taking place. In Mousehole, Cornwall, poetry-lovers will be tying poems to fireworks before releasing them into the night sky. In Manchester, poets will be reading at Waterstones in Deansgate throughout the afternoon, ending with a reading from Gillian Clarke at 7pm. Meanwhile in Hampshire there will be "guerrilla readings" in Alton, with poets approaching members of the public as part of Alton Word Fest.
Today also sees the winners of the Foyle Young Poets of Year Awards announced. The judges, Mort and Reid, selected 15 winners from more than 7,000 entries from poets aged between 11 and 17. The winners will all receive a poet visit to their school or a week’s residential writing course at the Hurst Arvon Centre in Shropshire, as well as membership of the Poetry Society.
The winning 15, along with 85 other commended entrants, will gather together today at Royal Festival Hall for the prize-giving. The commended poets have come from across the world, including the USA, New Zealand and Thailand. This is the 15th year of the award, which was first won by Mort when she was 13.
To celebrate National Poetry Day, Faber is giving away a free audio download of Carol Ann Duffy's anthology Jubilee Lines, featuring poems from Simon Armitage, Jo Shapcott and Wendy Cope.
Held annually, National Poetry Day aims to get people to make a space for poetry in their lives, from reading a poem in their lunch break, to holding a celebratory reading.