Today is National Poetry Day! This 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.
Every year there is a different theme, and the theme for 2019 is Truth. I personally think this is a super interesting theme to choose, given the current proliferation of ‘fake news’ and the bare-faced lies that are currently being pushed by various governments. The idea that poetry – a simple poem! – can get to the truth of a matter better than any longwinded speech is something that really resonates with me.
I also specifically love the idea of this day because I think poetry has a really bad reputation for being inaccessible and cerebral. I think that sometimes this is true – I read my fair share of difficult poetry at university – but I don’t think that this is always the case. Take Rupi Kaur, for example. Although she is sometimes mocked by people (mostly men, let’s be honest) for the simplicity of her writing, it still works and speaks deeply to many people.
This year there is also a specific poetry book to go with National Poetry Day – Tell Me the Truth About Life, an anthology edited by musician Cerys Matthews. This marks the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Day, which I think is pretty cool! It includes poems by Yrsa Daley-Ward, Kei Miller and John Cooper Clarke alongside classics by W H Auden, Emily Dickinson and Sappho. And if that wasn’t enough, there is also a podcast that you can listen to where people such as Michael Morpurgo talk about their favourite poems and the truths that they hold.
So, what poetry books hold truths for me?
- She Must Be Mad by Charly Cox is a brilliant poetry collection that looks at mental health and being a young woman in the 21st century
- sunfish by Shelby Eileen is a self-published book of poems that talk about fractured family relationships and grief
- welcome to ghost town by Gretchen Gomez is about 25 ghosts of her past that still haunt her to this day
- The Space Between by Meg Grehan is a novel told in verse that follows a queer girl who has agoraphobia
The National Poetry Day website also has a bunch of recommendations that I would definitely check out. The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta is a book that I particularly want to read, and I’m so happy to see it on the recommendations list.
Do you read poetry? Do you find it difficult to read? Let me know in the comments!