Happy National Poetry Day! For those who don’t know “National Poetry Day is an annual celebration that inspires people throughout the UK to enjoy, discover and share poems. Everyone is invited to join in, whether by organising events, displays, competitions or by simply posting favourite lines of poetry on social media using #nationalpoetryday. National Poetry Day was founded in 1994 by the charity Forward Arts Foundation, whose mission is to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience. The Day enjoys the support of the BBC, Arts Council England, the Royal Mail and leading literary and cultural organisations, alongside booksellers, publishers, libraries and schools.” For more info, you can check out their Twitter or the hashtag #nationalpoetryday where people everywhere are sharing all sorts of poetry!
Back in 2015 I shared some of my favourite poems, but this year I’ve tried to add a bit of variety by sharing a few of my new favourites. I’m not an avid poetry reader – I know what I like, and I stick to it, which tends to mean a lot of early modern-era poems. However, poetry isn’t just sonnets and long epic poems and these have quickly become some of my favourite poems. Although they don’t strictly fit with this year’s theme of “Freedom”, I would loosely argue these poems have helped me free myself from the shackles of the older poetry I otherwise cling to… is that a bit of a stretch in interpretation? I don’t care, today is just about sharing poetry you love!
‘Pocket-Sized Feminism’ by Blythe Baird
“We text each other when we get home safe
and it does not occur to us that not all of our guy friends have to do the same.”
“We are the daughters of men who warned us about the news
and the missing girls on the milk carton in the sharp edge of the world –
they begged us to be careful. To be safe.
Then told our brothers to go out and play.”
‘The Shortest and Sweetest of Songs’ by George Macdonald (as read by Tom Hiddleston)
Listen here (it’s extremely short so no quote as a preview!)
‘Two cures for love’ by Wendy Cope (as read by Leena Norms)
Wishing for Birds (collection) by Elisabeth Hewer (my review)
“Rebellion sits well on you,
like a red coat
or the gilt gold burnish of youth.”
(from ‘The Boy I loved Left Me for a Revolution’)
“You’re a defiant act
of creation. You’re a whole
solar system pretending to be
(from ‘World Inside Expanding’)
‘Fantastic Breasts and Where To Find Them’ by Brenna Twohy
“The first time a man I loved
held me by the wrists and called me a whore,
I did not think run, I thought
this is just like the movies”
“I am whole
I exist when you are not fucking me
and I will not be cut into pieces
As you can see from this selection, I’ve branched out a bit in some of the poems I read/listen to now. I still love my sonnets and couplets but I’m slowly but surely branching out into other things! There’s always room for more more favourites though, so if you have a favourite poem or poet I’d love to hear about it in the comments below – let’s chat poetry!