National Poetry Day - Enjoy, Discover, Share
YouTube poem competitionWin £500 in the #SpeakYourTruthPoem challenge
PoemsDiscover some classics - old and new
ResourcesFree teaching resources to introduce poetry to your school
EventsList your National Poetry Day event with us
ImpactNew research into young people’s attitudes to poetry
#BBCLocalPoetsNew poems commissioned by BBC Local Radio and National Poetry Day
Sponsors and SupportersThe poetry organisations who help make National Poetry Day happen
EducationGreat ways to get your school enjoying poetry
NewsThe latest about National Poetry Day
Tell Me the Truth About Life
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Day, Tell Me the Truth About Life is an indispensable anthology which celebrates poetry’s power to tap into the truths that matter. Curated and introduced by Cerys Matthews, this collection features poems nominated for their insight into truth by a range of ordinary and extraordinary people.
Counting Backwards : Poems 1975-2017
Helen Dunmore was a critically-acclaimed and much-loved poet who won many awards, including the Costa Book of the Year which she received posthumously for her tenth collection Inside the Wave. Counting Backwards is a retrospective covering ten collections written over four decades and often feels like walking around a gallery; here are domestic interiors, landscapes, grand narratives, each offering us a window on the world of love, loss, longing – all of life.
This astonishing parable in poems unfolds episodically like a play, its powerful narrative provoked by a tragic opening scene: when soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear – in that moment, all have gone deaf.
‘A perfectly extraordinary book. It is so romantic, and so painful, with such a stunning lightness of touch but such devastating weight.’ Max Porter
Moonstruck! Poems about our moon
All phases and faces of the moon are covered in this poetry collection inspired by our nearest neighbouring heavenly body. Poets from the past such as Emily Brontë and Robert Louis Stevenson are included although the emphasis is on the fresh and new from contemporary poets such as Grace Nichols, Rachel Rooney and Jay Hulme and there’s some excellent imagery from child poets Harshita Das and Sam Decie.
The follow-up to Jonathan Edwards’ Costa Poetry Prize winning first collection, has the same liveliness, humour, warmth and variety which gained him such popularity and critical success. While often set in Wales, the themes here are as universal as the enthusiasm is infectious.
The Black Flamingo
A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers -to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.
‘Dean Atta’s tender coming of age novel casts a fresh and enriching perspective on what it means to be seen as different at the level of race, culture, identity, heritage and gender … an important book for young people.’Malika Booker
The poems in Surge bring an archivist’s eye and a filmmaker’s technique of pacing to bear on their radical excavation of black British history, drawing lines between the New Cross Fire of 1981 (in which thirteen young black people were killed) and the contemporary legacy of racism and neglect which culminated in the Grenfell disaster.
‘Jay Bernard’s poems sing with outrage and indignation, with fury and passion. They tell the story of two terrible fires of our times, and shockingly show how the past holds up an uncomfortable mirror to the present. They have brio, they have brilliance, they are breathtakingly brave.‘ Jackie Kay
After the Formalities
Technically polished, emotionally transformative and razor-sharp, the poems in Anthony Anaxagorou’s new collection confront and contradict; here are poems in which the scholarly synthesises with the streetwise, and global histories are told through the lens of one family.
“I will/ never get over making everything/ such a big deal,” declares Limón in The Carrying, a thought-provoking collection, in which small moments convey “the strange idea of continuous living.” Vulnerable, tender, acute, these are serious poems, brave poems, exploring with honesty the ambiguous moment between the rapture of youth and the grace of acceptance.
‘This is as-the-crow flies poetry – it goes straight to the heart.’ The Guardian
Nora Gomringer is here translated into English for the first time by Scottish poet and editor Annie Rutherford. Experimental yet accessible, Nora Gomringer has demonstrated an almost unique ability to stride seamlessly from stage to page to film to literature festival and to be at home simultaneously in all zones of the poetry world.
Drawing on a number of Nora’s books Hydra’s Heads is comprised of poems which defy categorisation, and show Nora interweaving the best of German page and spoken word poetry to create something entirely her own. These are poems which laugh, howl, stamp their lines. They are candid, wry, compassionate. There are poems about the darker times of Germany’s modern history, reworkings of myths and fairy tales and a 3-page-long ode to sex against a wall.
Poetry for a Change
National Poetry Day is a chance for everyone everywhere to read, share and enjoy poetry. This special anthology features poems by the National Poetry Day Ambassadors, a top team of fantastic poets who bring poetry alive all year round. Includes new poems by Deborah Alma, Joseph Coelho, Sally Crabtree, Jan Dean, Marjorie Lotfi Gill, Chrissie Gittins, Matt Goodfellow, Sophie Herxheimer, Michaela Morgan, Brian Moses, Abigail Parry, Rachel Piercey, Rachel Rooney, Joshua Siegal and Kate Wakeling (winner of the CLiPPA, 2017). And each poet has chosen a favourite poem to share, so look out for classics by Chistina Rossetti, WB Yeats, Shakespeare and Keats among others. Take a look, and be part of the celebration!
The Forward Book of Poetry 2020
The Forward Book of Poetry 2020 brings together the best poetry published in the British Isles over the last year, including the winners of the 2019 Forward Prizes. In showcasing the range and ambition of today’s fresh voices alongside new work by familiar names, this anthology is a perfect introduction to contemporary poetry.
Published on Thursday 5th September, you can pre-order your copy from your local bookshop here.
‘As new audiences turn to poetry… the Forward Prizes support talent and encourage brilliance.’ Shahidha Bari, Chair of Judges, Forward Prizes for Poetry 2019.
England: Poems from a School
In this unique anthology, prize-winning poet Kate Clanchy brings together poems written by young people she has taught and mentored at Oxford Spires Academy. By turns raw and direct, funny and powerful, lyrical and heartbreaking, their poems document the pain of migration and the exhilaration of building a new land, an England of a thousand voices. This collection is easy to read and hard to forget, as fresh, bright and present as the young migrants who produced it.