It’s National Poetry Day today in the UK – a great time to remind you that poems are not just for weddings and funerals, but for every day! In our time squeezed culture, poems are perfect little packages you can read in one go, making you think a little differently, and perhaps a little deeper. Here are 6 resources to help you discover more about both reading and writing poetry.
1. Download a Free eBook of Poems
You can download a free National Poetry Day anthology of wonderful poems old and new, with the theme of ‘messages’, written by 14 National Poetry Ambassadors. You don’t have to have an eReader to do so- as you can just download a PDF and read it on your computer.
Download it here.
2. Listen To The World’s Greatest Poems
The Poetry Archive is an amazing resource – a not-for-profit organisation that makes and acquires recordings of poets from around the English-speaking world and makes substantial excerpts from them freely available online.
Hearing a poet reading his or her work helps us to understand the work as well as helping us to enjoy it at a deeper level, by hearing just how they intended it to be.
Click here to find Dylan Thomas reading his poem ‘In My Craft Or Sullen Art’, or explore the archive to hear your favourite poems and discover new ones.
3. A Poem A Day
Fancy getting a new poem in your inbox everyday for free? Then all you need to do is sign up at the www.poets.org.
On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary by the contemporary poets, and the series highlights classic poems on weekends.
4. Poems for Any Occasion
Are you looking for a poem for a special occasion? Or just one to suit your mood? The Poetry Foundation has a fabulous archive which you can search by subject, such as ‘Love’ or ’Nature’ as well as specifically for occasions such as birthdays, farewells, get wells, weddings and funerals.
Click here to find poems about Autumn, and search for many more.
5. Learn To Write Poetry
There are lots of courses to get you started, or continuing writing your own poetry, so check out local colleges or arts organisations in your area to find one that suits you – or even sign up for an online course. If you need to get away to clear your head and work without distraction, you could consider a residential writing course or writer’s retreat.
The Arvon Foundation runs an annual programme of residential creative writing courses in the UK, including courses on writing poetry. These last for 5 days, are tutored by leading authors, are held at three beautiful rural writers’ houses and include a mix of workshops and individual tutorials. Grants are available to help with course fees.
6 Poetry Competitions
If after honing your poems to perfection, you fancy entering a poetry competition, then these websites have loads to choose from. Just click on the link to go to their sites, and good luck if you enter one! Do let us know how you get on.
Poetry Society Competitions
The Poetry Kit
Do you have a favourite poem? Which poems have you learned by heart – and can you still recite them?