Messages for National Poetry Day on Thursday 6th October

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National Poetry Day takes place the first Thursday in October every year in the UK. Each year there is a theme and this year it is MESSAGES. Here is a poem of mine on that theme to give you some inspiration.

To The Great Provider

Dear Great Provider,
This is to thank you
for the delicious cheese
you so thoughtfully provide.
Thank you.

However,
(and I do hope this doesn’t seem ungrateful)
would it be possible to place it
by the side of our hole
and not on the spikes
of the thing that snaps
when we take a bite?
That would be most helpful.

It’s just that,
as you may or may not know,
a member of my family
(my precious daughter to be precise)
has not returned from dining out
and we fear her disappearance
may have something to do
with the fierce snappy thing.
It doesn’t like mice!
(This is not a criticism.
We would sooner pull out our own whiskers
than question your unquestionable wisdom.
We know you move in mysterious ways.)

Once again, Great Provider,
thank you for the wonderful cheese.
It’s irresistible.

Yours humbly and appreciatively,
Montague Mouse

This poem appears in my book Wanted Alive, copies are available to buy from this site. More information about National Poetry Day is available on the Forward Arts Foundation website.

Illustration by Jessie Gillick from Wanted Alive
Illustration by Jessie Gillick from Wanted Alive

National Poetry Day 2016 is Thursday 6 October

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National Poetry Day is one of the two busiest times of the year for me, the other being World Book Day. I’m just giving you advanced notice of the date since it doesn’t allow for much planning time after you return from summer holidays.

If you are interested in having a poet visit your school, please have a look at the sort of things I do in the schools visits section. If that interests you, please contact me to check availability and price.

The Lightsaber Kid

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The Lightsaber Kid

Open the lid
and out jumps
The Lightsaber Kid.

I want to call
the piece of tubing he uses
a Light Saver.

He calls it a Light Chamber.

He deflects bullets with it.

Exhausting!

I made a vid
of him in action.
He liked it.

OK kid,
I said,
get back in your box.

So he did

‘nt.

This poem previously appeared on PolaroidBlipfoto.

Light is the theme of National Poetry Day 8 October 2015

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A Light Verse

This hefty is a light verse
to substantial celebrate National Poetry Day.
I’ve massive included a few weighty words
cumbersome so that it doesn’t millstone float away.

A new poem on the theme of ‘Light’ to celebrate National Poetry Day on October 8th 2015

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 Light Rain

Around 4 a.m.,
lamp-light lit,
heavy rain. I am

not the only one
awake. Un
less my neighbour, a

cross the road, has left
a light on
by mistake. I start

to fret
about his electricity
being wasted.

Maybe I should knock
on his door,
ring his bell? Get wet!

Ah, the rain the rain
I’m drifting off again
imagining myself

as keeper of the light,
a lighthouse keeper.
light sleeper.

National Poetry Day Thursday 8 October 2015

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UK’s National Poetry Day, the annual mass celebration of poetry and all things poetical, will mark its 21st birthday on Thursday 8 October 2015.

This year’s theme is LIGHT. Lesson plans and resources can be found on the National Poetry Day website here: http://www.forwardartsfoundation.org/national-poetry-day/resources/lesson-plans/

Here is one from me on that theme.

Image of bub copyright Bernard Young

Light Bulb Moment

you’re bright
white hot
turned on
tuned in
it’s a moment
of wonderment
and fulfilment
your filament
alive with electricity
you tingle
and something
goes ping
in your brain

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Poetry’s Not Just For World Book Day, It’s For Life!

It was on the news - more poetry is needed!
It was on the news – more poetry is needed!

I am very pleased to be visiting a school in East Yorkshire on World Book Day and some Manchester schools for the rest of the week, but I had so many enquiries for World Book Day week that I had to turn bookings down. Frustrating for me and the schools concerned.

It made me think to write a blog post to say that poetry is not just for World Book Day (March 5th) nor just for World Poetry Day (March 21st), not even just for National Poetry Day (October 8th). I’d be more than happy to visit your school any day of the year (during term time, of course!).

Consider the benefits:

  • You’ll be getting ‘a real live poet’ – a specialist who knows his craft (and plays guitar!).
  • Someone who can generate a sense of fun with words.
  • Someone who can motivate even reluctant writers to write and give them the confidence to stand up at the end of the workshop and perform a new poem they can be proud of.

It’s not just me that thinks poetry should have a place in schools all year round. Elena Aquilar makes a good case in this blog post: “Five Reasons Why we Need Poetry in Schools”. She says “Poetry promotes literacy, builds community, and fosters emotional resilience. It can cross boundaries that little else can.” Read more

And the following benefits of reading poetry for older students are given in a blog post on synonym.com:

  • Improves Verbal Skills and Memory
  • Improves Critical Thinking
  • Develops Empathy and Insight
  • Encourages Engagement with other Art forms

Read more

So if you are a teacher looking for ideas for World Book Day, I hope you come away with the idea you could do the same kinds of activities on other days too.

Don’t forget National Poetry Day: It’s a tough job being a Poet!

Man at desk with title text It's a tough job being a poet

Tough

It’s a tough job being a poet.
I’m surprised it’s not better paid.
Perhaps there should be guided tours of workshops
so non-poets can see how poems are made?

There’s no respite if you’re a poet.
You’re working all the time.
You have to get on it if there’s a call for a sonnet.
And people expect you to rhyme.

It’s more demanding than being a surgeon.
It’s harder than digging a road.
We deserve much longer holidays than teachers.
It can be stressful writing an ode.

We sometimes work until lunchtime
if we need to complete a quatrain.
Yes, it’s a tough job being a poet
but you’ll never hear us complain.

Remember a poet can be an enthusiastic inspiring addition to your classroom all year round, not just for National Poetry Day. If you’d like to know what I can do in your school, please contact me.

A new poem on the Theme Remember for National Poetry Day

I’ve recorded a poem today and Karen has turned it into a video. Hope you like it. Please share and don’t forget National Poetry Day on Thursday 2nd October.

Don’t forget it’s National Poetry Day in UK on Thursday 2nd October

Remember National Poetry Day 2014

I’ve posted some other reminders and resources for National Poetry Day already, but here’s video that may inspire ideas and discussion.

Remember by Christina Rossetti