Here’s when National Poetry Day 2020 will take place - and how to get involved

National Poetry Day takes place on an annual basis, celebrating and embracing poetry in all its forms, encouraging others to do the same (Photo: Shutterstock)

National Poetry Day takes place on an annual basis, celebrating and embracing poetry in all its forms, encouraging others to do the same.

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But when will it take place this year, and what is the history behind this event and this year’s theme?

What is National Poetry Day?

National Poetry Day takes place every year, celebrating and embracing poetry, with a new theme each time.

The event was founded in 1994 by the charity Forward Arts Foundation, with a mission to both celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience.

The National Poetry Day website explains, “The Day starts conversations, it encourages love of language – and best of all, it’s open to absolutely everyone to join in, 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.”

The annual event enjoys the support of the BBC and Arts Council England, alongside leading literary and cultural organisations, booksellers, publishers, libraries and schools.

National Poetry Day and the Forward Prizes for Poetry are both programmes from the Forward Arts Foundation that enable people “to enjoy, discover and share poetry as performers, writers, listeners and readers.”

The charity addresses educational, social and artistic needs, including:

  • Educational: Helping schools to foster creativity, confidence and communication skills
  • Social: Working with libraries, the BBC and other partners to reduce isolation and exclusion
  • Artistic: Supporting poets, both directly and by building audiences for their work

When will it take place this year?

National Poetry Day takes place on the first Thursday of October each year, which this year will land on Thursday 1 October 2020.

What is this year’s theme?

This year’s theme is Vision, and the strapline for the day is ‘See It Like a Poet’.

The National Poetry Day website has a range of brand new resources and activities to help all ages create new poems on this year’s theme.

There’s also a selection of poems on the National Poetry Day 2020 theme of Vision to get school classes inspired.

How can I get involved?

There’s usually a range of events and activities happening across the UK on National Poetry Day, ranging from activities at kitchen tables, in gardens and streets, in schools, libraries and public spaces.

This year may be a little different, due to restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, but people can still get involved.

Individuals can take pictures of their favourite piece of poetry, or a piece they have written themselves, and put them on social media with the hashtag #NationalPoetryDay.

For those planning poetry in school spaces, including reading, writing and performing, there’s a wide range of free resources available.

There’s also a schools-focused challenge in place for National Poetry day, with the hashtag #MyNPDPoem, which has inspiring videos, prompts and resources to help you participate in the event.