The theme for National Poetry Day 2014 was ‘Remember’. Whether it’s Thomas Hood or Philip Larkin‘s ‘I Remember, I Remember'; the centenary of the First World War; or the national Poetry by Heart recitation competition; memory is an important part of poetry.
Events included readings, launches, prizes, performances and happenings.
National Poetry Day Live
The Poetry Society and Southbank Centre, London, presented National Poetry Day Live from the Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall. It included poetry for all ages, including school groups, families and an evening of performances for adults.
Participants included some of the biggest names in poetry, including Julia Donaldson, John Hegley, Daljit Nagra, Kei Miller and Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze.
Several new Poetry Society commissions also premiered at National Poetry Day Live, including a new film of Marian Allen’s The Wind on the Downs and several new Page Fright films, featuring spoken word legends.
The event was programmed for the first time by a group of the Poetry Society’s Young Associates – young poets at the start of their careers.
The day at Southbank Centre ended with The Pity, a special premiere of four new commissions on the theme of ‘conflict’. Denise Riley, Warsan Shire, Steve Ely and Zaffar Kunial showcased new pieces in the Purcell Room of Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre.
Poetry at Covent Garden and Oval
The celebrations continued with a collaborative poetry take-over of the Poetry Society’s local London Underground station at Covent Garden, and also at Oval Station. We worked with Transport for London, London Underground and the London Transport Museum to enhance the poetic lives of visitors to the area all day.
We also held an open mic event at the Covent Garden Piazza outside the London Transport Museum.
In the evening, the Poetry Café presented Playing Poetry, an evening of experimental poetry performance devised by singers, musicians, actors and poets.