National Poetry Day

Since 1994 National Poetry Day has engaged millions of people with poetry through a range of live events and web-based activities for people throughout the country. Such a variety of poetry is written and read that each year the day is given a new theme, in order to highlight particular poets and styles of poetry.

In 2007 the coordination of National Poetry Day was transferred to a dedicated organisation (where you can find out about other NPD events, and even add your own to their map), though The Poetry Society continues to celebrate the day with exciting events and initiatives each year, including a whole day of poetry at National Poetry Day Live, which has been held each year at the Southbank Centre, London.

This year’s National Poetry Day is on 3 October 2019. The theme for National Poetry Day 2019 is Truth. We’ll be reading poems on the tannoy at Covent Garden, Moorgate and Walthamstow Central London Underground stations and sharing these online too (you can pick up a free Poems on the Underground poster at The Poetry Café too); at 2-3pm we’ll be running a free poetry reading at Southbank Centre with Joelle Taylor, Daljit Nagra, Raymond Antrobus, Theresa Lola, Dzifa Benson and Jasmine Simms; and there will be a special Poetry @ 3 on the theme of ‘truth and lies’ at The Poetry Café. In the evening, we’ll be running a free calligraphy workshop with Paul Antonio at The Poetry Café, and Annie Yim and Zaffar Kunial will be performing a special commission at Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Leading up to National Poetry Day this year, we ran a Stanza competition on the theme of ‘lies’, whose winners you can read now. You can still visit PoetryClass to download our free teaching resource about truth in poetry, based on ‘6 Ways of Looking at the Very Hungry Caterpillar’, a Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award winning poem. If you’d like to book a poet to visit your school following National Poetry Day this year, we’d love to find you a suitable poet: make an enquiry today.


Prior to 1999 National Poetry Day was not themed. Since then it has had a new theme each year.

2018: Change
2017: Freedom
2016: Messages
2015: Light
2014: Remember
2013: ‘Water, water everywhere’
2012: Stars
2011: Games
2010: Home
2009: Heroes and Heroines
2008: Work
2007: Dreams
2006: Identity
2005: The Future
2004: Food
2003: Britain
2002: Celebration
2001: Journeys
2000: Fresh Voices
1999: Song Lyrics