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National Poetry Day 2018

2 October 2018

National Poetry Day is an annual celebration of poetry to inspire people throughout the UK to enjoy, discover, write and share poems. This year the action takes place on Thursday 4th October and the theme is ‘change’. Everyone is invited to take part by organising or attending events, and competitions, or by just posting their favourite lines of poetry on social media using #NationalPoetryDay. The day is supported by libraries, schools, booksellers, the BBC, the Royal Mail and the Arts Council. A National Poetry Day anthology called ‘Poetry for a Change’, published to support this year’s event, is already available in audio in the Calibre Library.

At Calibre we are also highlighting some of the poetry books added to the library more recently, so that you can join in by listening to some of the wonderful poems on offer. Ironically, one of our favourite collections, The Poetry Pharmacy, is compiled by William Sieghart who founded National Poetry Day back in 1994. According to the author the book is intended as a pharmacy of poems prescribed as a therapy for a particular state of mind, and to help people through the difficulties of day-to-day life - such as the ‘frustrations of love, grief and work and all the other concerns that dominate our thoughts’.

We are also featuring the last collection of poetry by renowned author Helen Dunmore, who died last year. ‘Inside the Wave’, written after she had received a diagnosis of cancer, explores the theme of mortality. The collection won the Costa Book of the Year and the Costa Poetry Award.

Two more award winning poets are included - Derek Walcott who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, and Alice Oswald who has won a Forward Poetry prize and a TS Elliot Prize for poetry.

On a lighter note we have Oranges and Lemons: Rhymes from Past Times to evoke memories of the school playground and the nursery. You can also dip into Poetry Please a collection of 50 of the country’s best loved poems from the BBC Radio 4 programme of the same name.

Those of you who have a soft spot for animals will enjoy the work of William Cowper the poet, hymn writer and supporter of the abolition of slavery. He was also a great animal lover, as witnessed by the number of poems about animals in this collection, notably Epitaph on a Hare about his pet jack hare, Tiney, who may well have been the first house-hare!

Finally, we have a collection by the highly popular poet Wendy Cope, and a selection of poems on a theme in Wordstrokes: The Poetry of Art.

On National Poetry Day itself, we are inviting our supporters who have Twitter and Facebook accounts to share with us their favourite poems. Here at Calibre we will be sharing favourites from some of the staff and volunteers working at Calibre HQ, you can also read them below.

Here is the full list of titles mentioned along with the catalogue numbers:

Anecdotal Evidence by Wendy Cope 12851

Dart by Alice Oswald 12115

Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore 12500

The Poetry Pharmacy by William Sieghart 12720

Poetry for a Change 12895

Poetry Please 11616

White Egrets by Derek Walcott 12063

William Cowper Everyman Poetry 12011

Wordstrokes: The Poetry of Art Edited by Deborah Gaye 12799


Poetry Day Contributions from Calibre staff, volunteers, and friends…

*Sonnet 18 - Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, by William Shakespeare. ‘It’s lovely and not creepy…’ Josh (Customer Services)

*Aubade by Philip Larkin. ‘A frank assessment of mortality and impending death… it leaves me wanting to embrace live and live it to the full.’ Emma Scott (Editorial & Production)

*The Charge of the Light Brigadeby Alfred Lord Tennyson. ‘…it’s the only one I can remember from school.’ Terry (Fundraising)

*The Owl and the Pussycatby Edward Lear. ‘It makes me smile.’ Jean Reeve (Volunteer)

*The Eve of St Agnesby John Keats. ‘It is the perfect example of the Romantic movement at its best.’ James Beston (Publicity)

*He’s Not Perfectby Bob Marley. …’brings back lots of happy memories (of my son’s wedding)’. Gill Sutton (Finance)

*I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth.

 ‘Gentle and soothing.’ Karen (Customer Services); ‘first poem I learnt at school’. Christine McCaskie (Volunteer)

*Delight in Disorder by Robert Herrick. Carol Bianca (Production)

*Funeral Blues by WH Auden. Jane S (Production)

*Cousin Kate by Christina Rossetti. Morgan (Volunteer)

*The Eagle by Alfred Lord Tennyson. ‘…memory of reciting it in chorus with my sisters’. Jenny Roberts (Volunteer)

*High Flight by John Gillespie McGee. ‘By a WW2 pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force who died in the war’. Stephen Ludlow (Volunteer)

*Bei Hennef by DH Lawrence. ‘Because it says it all!’ Caryn Newton (Library)

*Who Killed the Swan? By Gillian Clarke. ‘Soooo beautiful, and very sad…’ Denise James (Editorial)

*Warning by Jenny Joseph (When I am an old woman I shall wear purple). ‘It’s appropriate.’ BH (Volunteer)

*The King’s Breakfast by A. A. Milne. ‘It makes me laugh and has a simple moral’. Shirin (Marketing & Fundraising)

*The Second Minuet by Aubrey Dowdon. ‘My mother used to sing it and I played the piano accompaniment’. Mary Shepherd (Volunteer)

*The Moon is Up by Alfred Noyes. ‘Childhood Poem and the sea is always fascinating’. Priscilla (Volunteer)