National Poetry Day

What will you do for National Poetry Day 2014?

The theme for 2014 is 'Remember' so there's lots of scope for reading, creating and generally celebrating poetry. Here are some examples of what people did last year to give you inspiration:

* At the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh, writer in residence Linda Cracknell  and illustrator Cate James worked with children and families on a 'Sea Fever' theme - you can see 12-year-old Joy's poem in the photos above. Linda put together ‘Water Thoughts’ after asking patients, parents and staff what they thought of when she said ‘water’.

* Clyde Valley High in Wishaw held a poetry competition for S1 pupils. During library period each S1 English class discussed poetry techniques, the theme of water and listened to a recording of poet Diana Hendry reciting, "What is the Pond Doing?". Pupils were then set the task of writing their own Water poem. The standard of work was very high and the two most descriptive and imaginative poems from each S1 English class were chosen to be judged by Mrs Cimmino, English PT.  Mrs Cimmino chose Iona Orr's poem as the overall, and very deserving, winner. You can see the display of S1's work in one of the photos above.

* Flora Stevenson Primary School's P5A had a personal visit from Diana Hendry (it so happens that she is not unrelated to one of the pupils). She and Ruairidh recited 'What Is The Pond Doing?' together, and they sent us some of the poems they wrote after a long discussion about what differnt kinds of water are doing, what they feel, look and sound like. Not room to put them all up here, but just a few favourites:   [a tear] 'drawing swirly swirls on a tiny cheek / dreaming of the wishes to come true / exploding into tiny splashes of love' (Yasmin), 'What is the loch doing? ... Rubbing out the rocks' (Ruairidh), 'The stream is as fragile as a glass shoe' (Cameron), 'The cloud is being a train for water / It is being an obstacle for the wind..' (Jamie), 'Most of the water is white / slipping down like cold cream on jelly' (Emma), 'waves flooding the city / I stand on my roof and this is what I see / waves and waves signing their names on houses' (Khaliq)

* Stockbridge Library went to town! "We collated a display of contemporary Scottish poetry, selected from recent publications currently available to borrow in the wider CEC libraries catalogue. We promoted a core selection as a public list on the library's online catalogue. We also displayed this year's poetry cards, and SPL leaflets * Inspired by the theme of water, and by messages in bottles, we hid a series of "poems in bottles" around the library, to delight and surprise our readers! We publicised this mainly in the library and on Facebook, and had a very good response. We also ran an informal competition: readers were asked how many bottles they could find, and where [see photos above] * Our book-group picked up on the theme by reading Simon Armitage's collection for National Poetry Day. They gave it a top star rating! * In the children's area, we displayed a selection of our poetry books for children - we have lots - and provided paper poetry activities * We promoted NPD in general, and our key activities on the Stockbridge Library Facebook page."

* Elgin Academy pushed the boat out!  Elgin Academy S1 pupils wrote haiku poems on the theme of water and recorded themselves reading them. Pupils were to be seen in a variety of places reading: by the taps and sinks in school, under umbrellas in the amphitheatre and at the River Lossie. The S6 paired readers were happy to dive in and help and all had a great time sharing their writing. The poems were displayed on the plasma screens in school and can now be seen in the library. Elgin also welcomed Ian Stephen, writer, artist and sailor, from the Western Isles, to school on Thursday 3 October, when he worked with S5/6 students in the library. Ian’s sequence of recent maritime poems was published in the Oxford Poets Anthology 2013 and he spoke about these. He read from Homer’s Odyssey about “Aeolus and the bag of winds” and went on to convey a sense of poetry as a voyage of discovery. Pupils were challenged to write what they had understood from the saga as a text message, which they did extremely well, after their initial astonishment at being asked to use their mobile phones in class. Elgin Academy staff entered in to the spirit of National Poetry Day and wrote poems based on “Rivers, Lochs and Sea – What Water Means to Me", and Ian Stephen judged entries. We loved all 3 winners, but most of all M. Lestienne in Modern Languages, whose answer was 'un seul mot : H2eau'

* At St Andrew's Secondary School, Glasgow, S1 and S2 pupils were asked to work together to create a poem about water for the whole school.  School librarian Ellen Gallacher asked them write down all the words they could think of to do with water, or to write lines of poetry about water, then made their work into one poem which is now on display in the library and throughout the school - see right, and image above. Ellen says "I was impressed by the creativity of the pupils and will definitely create some more poetry related activities for them."

* Peebles High School made this film of Diana Hendry's 'What Is the Pond Doing?'

* Largs Poems & Pints read poems on the trains

* Eastwood Park Theatre in East Renfrewshire aimed for wall-to-wall poetry - but did they achieve their aims to get poetry over the PA and in the toilets...?

* Chirnside Primary School made up skipping rhymes about water in their PE class, then skipped to them - now that's cross-curricular!

* North Ayrshire libraries put up poems on their plasma screens * 

*St George's School in Edinburgh read lots of water poems, displayed the poems in corridors and classrooms, and ran a competition for their own water poems. They're hoping to make the winning entries into their own postcards, to sell for an appropriate charity.*

*Our Living Voices session in Prestwick blew bubbles, then made 'water pictures' - floating little objects on the surface of a bowl of water to create a picture - while they read poems about water. Ripples in the poems prompted nice ripple effects in the pictures.

*Kirkintilloch High School ran a poetry competition for S1 pupils, asking them to write a poem in a raindrop template - a couple of examples in the pictures above, and you can see all four winning entries here. The English department and the library promoted the competition with a library display and classroom materials.

*At Kilgraston School, the library held a poetry competition to mark National Poetry Day with several entries including from overseas students.

*Lorn Resource Centre and Oban Library events combined online readings (technology permitting) with performances of people's own poems, and inspired a poetry competition on the theme of 'water'

National Poetry Day in 5 minutes

1. Read a poem in your coffee break

Read a poem about remembering, right now.

On the sidebar to the right, you'll find all the poems featured on this year's NPD Scotland postcards, as well as suggestions of more poems about remembering. Which will stick in your brain?

2. Share a poem

Make a quick search for a suitable poem on our website, either searching by a single word, or browsing by subject, or one of our 8 National Poetry Day poems. Use the shortcuts at the foot of the poem to share it on Twitter, like it on Facebook - or just email the link to your deserving friend. They might even return the favour.

3. Put up a poem poster

Print off a pdf poster of one of the National Poetry Day poems, or browse our collection of poem posters to find the one that hits the mark. We recommend poem posters for noticeboards, near a communal kettle, or in toilets - places everyone has just a few minutes and desperately needs something uplifting to read.

National Poetry Day posters | Browse other SPL posters

4. Plan for poetry

Use your five minutes to plan how to start spending more time reading or writing, poems.

There are so many ways you can enjoy poetry reading and writing:  podcasts, websites, apps, writers' groups, local reading groups, live events, having a poetry book in your bag (or phone or ereader) all help keep poems in your life.

5. Memorise a poem

Well, this year's theme is 'Remember' and if you learn a poem by heart, you'll always have it with you! Start with something short. A strong rhythm and rhyme scheme will help to jog your memory. Have a look at 'Remember, Remember' our resource sheet which will give you tips on how to learn poems by heart.

What will you do?

Tell us what you are planning for National Poetry Day.  Send us a quick note of your ideas for your school, town, library, workplace, shed, and if you can share a photo with us please send that too (check it's ok to use, especially if you have a school or other policy about photos).  We'll try to put as much as we can up on this page.