About National Poetry Day
National Poetry Day is the annual mass celebration on the first Thursday of October that encourages everyone to make, experience and share poetry with family and friends.
Each year we come together because voices, words and stories help to bridge understanding in our community.
National Poetry Day generates an explosion of activity nationwide, thousands of amazing events across the UK – on doorsteps and at kitchen tables, in gardens and streets, in schools, libraries and public spaces both online and offline – all celebrating poetry’s power to bring people together.
The Day starts conversations, it encourages love of language and, best of all, it’s open to absolutely everyone to join in. Whether quietly or noisily in rewarding and enjoyable ways. As the artform's most visible moment, it showcases the ways in which poetry adds value to society.
Why do we need National Poetry Day?
- 66.5% of children and young people agreed that writing poetry made them feel better during lockdown. The National Literacy Trust (2020)
- Poetry is an important vehicle to explore individual identity and the identity of others. CLPE The Power of Poetry (2017)
- More than half of children and young people surveyed (54%) told us they do not currently engage with poetry. The National Literacy Trust (2018)
- Poetry is the most common way for secondary students to encounter a Black, Asian or other minority ethnic author and single poems are the easiest texts to insert into the curriculum. The Runnymede Trust and Penguin Random House Lit in Colour Report (2020)
Our campaign aims are
- To showcase new voices and celebrate diversity
- To promote the vital role that poetry plays in all our lives – poetry has the power to bring people and communities together
- To foster love of language and the sharing of poetry
National Poetry Day 2020 In Numbers
- Over the past 18 months people have turned to poetry in huge numbers. Visitors to the National Poetry Day website increased by 40% from the previous year.
- 2.3 million people connected through Project #Haiflu, generating thousands of witty, moving haiku poems on the Coronavirus lockdown.
- 660,000 students benefited from our teaching resources.
- 44,000 Instagram users viewed our livestreamed 24-hour Poetry Lock-In.
- 1,200 educators registered for Poetry Possibility, a series of teacher-training workshops supporting the delivery of poetry in schools.
- Sales of poetry books rose by 33% in October.
- Find out more about National Poetry Day 2020's reach, impact and effect on poetry book sales with our 25th anniversary leaflet, downloadable here.
With your support, we can create more resources for young people and support more young poets. Follow this link to make a contribution to our organiser, the Forward Arts Foundation. You can also contact us to see how your donations can help National Poetry Day raise awareness of the value and impact of poetry.
Did you know that whenever you buy anything online – from your weekly shop to your annual holiday – you could be raising free donations for Forward Arts Foundation with easyfundraising? There are over 4,000 shops and sites on board ready to make a donation – including eBay, Argos, John Lewis, ASOS, Booking.com and M&S – and it won’t cost you a penny extra to help us raise funds.
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 and leading literary and cultural organisations, alongside booksellers, publishers, libraries and schools.
Anyone. We welcome events of all shapes and sizes, whether from individuals, groups or organisations. If you used our downloaded logos or posters, take pictures and put them on social media with the hashtag #NationalPoetryDay.
It’s FREE. To list any public event on our website simply visit our Events page. You are welcome to charge for your event, but make sure you mention this when you list the event.
National Poetry Day is coordinated by Forward Arts Foundation, a registered charity that celebrates excellence in poetry and increase public knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of poetry in all its forms.
As an organisation, we value poetry's power to change perceptions, renew communities and enable people to find the words they need. The needs we address are educational, social and artistic:
- Educational: We help schools to foster creativity, confidence and communication skills.
- Social: We work with libraries, the BBC and other partners to reduce isolation and exclusion.
- Artistic: We support poets, both directly and by building audiences for their work.
Both these high profile national moments - the Day and the Prizes - feed into a year-round programme of activity. We help people find the words and confidence they need to communicate what matters to them, whether they are young readers in Hull, homeless in Leeds, refugees in Oxford or detainees in cells nationwide. We support teachers and community groups by supplying books, materials and a central point of contact for a national poetry network - and with your backing, more can be done.
We are an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Our sponsors and supporters include: Bookmark (formerly Forward Worldwide), the late Felix Dennis, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the John Ellerman Foundation. We're grateful to these organisations for supporting our work.