Do you have a passion for poetry? National Poetry Day on 8th October is the annual celebration of all things poetic. To mark the occasion, poetry will fill the airwaves and eloquent readers will wax lyrical in public spaces across Britain in celebration of this unique literary form. Forward Arts Foundation coordinates National Poetry Day, and the aim of the day is simple; to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience.
The BBC’s Contains Strong Language series will see public figures commemorate the work of some of Britain’s best loved poets through selective readings across the BBC’s television channels. Poetry will also take centre stage on BBC radio, with programmes given across to poetry on several stations, including Radio 4 where Andrew Marr will attempt to explore British identity through poetry in We British: An Epic in Poetry. This will be broadcast on Thursday 8th October. Other events include National Poetry Day Live at the Southbank Centre in London, a showcase of the best of Britain’s emerging and established poetic talent.
Poetry attempts to express human feelings, desires and emotions through careful word selection and heightened language. So what skills does a would-be poet need at their disposal to write a poem? Firstly, anyone attempting to write poetry needs a wide and varied vocabulary. AE Publications’ Spelling & Vocabulary series can help with this, and working through the series will give a child a working vocabulary of more than 5,400 words. However, simply having a wide vocabulary is not enough; writing a poem that stirs the passions of the reader is about selecting the right words. A good grounding in semantics can enable a child to distinguish between words that have similar meanings (synonyms), opposite meanings (antonyms) and more than one meaning (homonyms). AEP’s Semantics series is the perfect way for a child to develop their ability in semantics and will improve their ability to use words effectively in creative writing exercises including poetry. Then, there is the need to understand how to craft language into a poetic form or ‘heightened language.’ This involves understanding poetic sound devices, structure and imagery, and how to convey meaning through poetry. AEP’s Comprehension series is the first step in this process, as children are taught to analyse and comment on classic poetry.
To find out more about any of the events taking place to mark National Poetry Day, please visit www.forwardartsfoundation.org/national-poetry-day.