Tag Archives: National Poetry Day

It’s National Poetry Day

3 Oct

In protest OFC

As it’s National Poetry Day, I thought I’d share some news: I have another poem coming out in an anthology.

For me, this one is kind of a big deal, because I get to be an anthology buddy with Carol Ann Duffy, our Poet Laureate, and Ruth Padel, a big noise in the British poetry world.  You can’t see it, but I’m dancing a joyful jig right now – I’m an ’emerging poet’!

Contributors have been asked to publicise the event, so here goes:

Press Release

In Protest: new poetry anthology explores human rights and social justice

Poets from around the world explore themes of human rights and social justice in a unique collaboration between the Human Rights Consortium and the Institute of English Studies (both School of Advanced Study, University of London), and London-based poetry collective the Keats House Poets.

In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights is an ambitious new publication aiming to bring together the fields of human rights research and literature in an innovative way. Selected from over 600 poems submitted by established and emerging poetsit provides a rare international insight into issues ranging from the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Hola massacre and indigenous peoples’ rights to the current war in Syria.

All the poems received were anonymised and the final 150 chosen include works from jailed Colombian human rights activist David Ravelo and acclaimed UK poets Carol Anne Duffy, Ruth Padel, Moniza Alvi and Douglas Dunn. Campaigner and philanthropist Sigrid Rausing, who wrote the afterword for the anthology, said:  ‘Poetry brings tiny details to life, and in a world where human rights is mostly about reports and abstractions, where real life and real details are lost, poetry can still make us see and feel.’

Co-edited by Helle Abelvik-Lawson (Human Rights Consortium), Laila Sumpton and Anthony Hett (both Keats House Poets), the 251 pages make up a body of contemporary works that is truly outstanding for its exploration of human rights. The poets come from a variety of backgrounds from more than 16 countries.

Divided into 13 themes – Expression, History, Land, Exile, War, Children, Sentenced, Slavery, Women, Regimes, Workers, Unequal, and Protest – the poems vary in style from compelling personal stories to reflections on contemporary events experienced via the evening news. With the forthcoming centenary of the First World War, this anthology also proves vital reading for an insight into contemporary war poetry, covering conflicts ranging from the Spanish Civil War to Syria.

‘This book has validated my suspicion that there is space and enthusiasm for literary creativity in human rights,’ said Helle Abelvik-Lawson. ‘Reading and writing poetry is a very therapeutic way to process some of the darker aspects of humanity. That said, it’s not all doom and gloom – there are some very empowering, fun and funny poems in this book. The feeling of solidarity is palpable, and I feel very privileged to have been able to read so many incredible poems. Like any good anthology, each poem offers something unique, telling a different story about the human experience.’

The editors, together with a number of poets, will speak at an event marking the UK launch of In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights (paperback) at the Bloomsbury Festival finale in Senate House, University of London on 20 October at 18:00. Discounted copies will be available. A series of events connected to the anthology are planned throughout 2013-14.


Poetry Can Be Fun…Honest

6 Oct
William Wordsworth, the subject of the poem. P...

Image via Wikipedia

Today is National Poetry Day.  I was going to bring you some fun and interesting facts about poetry, but you know what?  There aren’t any.  Not on the internet, anyway.  Poetry is dull.

By the way, remember to check out my poetry blog, I’m Not A Verse.






I did find a site called Poetry Fountain.  Under the heading ‘Interesting Facts’ it has these interesting facts:

  • Starfish have no Brains.  I wonder if they write poetry?
  • There is a species of ants that is found only in buildings in Washington, D.C.  It’s killing me not to make a joke about politicians here.
  • The scientific name of a Boa Constrictor is Boa Constrictor.  Scientists don’t use metaphors?
  • Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth.  Apart from me on National Share Your Maltesers Day.
  • If you turn a shark on its back, it will fall asleep.  It must have been reading Wordsworth’s & Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads.  The same thing happens to me.
  • Shakespeare was born and died on the same day (only many years apart).  Well, duh!  Whoever wrote that qualifying remark either thinks we’re all stupid or is an infant prodigy.  And it is only suspected that Shakespeare was born on that day: births were not recorded back then; only baptisms.  Glad I got that off my chest.
  • In one day more money is printed for Monopoly then for the US.  If ever there was a glorious typo, this is it.
  • Mrs.Roosevelt was the only first lady who carried a loaded revolver with her.  To stop Mr Roosevelt from reading Lyrical Ballads to her, I’m guessing.
  • Democratic Congressmen are almost twice as likely as Republican congressmen to be offered a bribe.  And the very next fact is:
  • Franklin Roosevelt was related by blood or marriage to eleven other presidents.  Coincidence…?
  • The female black widow spider devours the male after mating. She may kill as many as 25 males a day.  Too many Lyrical Ballads, too few Maltesers…
  • The flounder has both eyes on one side of its head.  What’s so special about that?  So do humans.
  • The national Institute of Education reports that over 5,000 teachers are robbed each month in American schools.  And I bet not one of them lost their copy of Lyrical Ballads.

Your homework for today: choose one or more of these interesting facts and use them to write a poem.

And to show that poetry can be fun, here’s a bit of fluff:



Almost A Ghazal, For The Beautiful Brad

Dear Mr Pitt, I long to twizzle with your cheeks.
I may be a silly twit to love the sizzle of your cheeks.

They have me quite delirious;
I am bedazzled by your cheeks.

With you I’m deadly serious –
I am bamboozled by your cheeks.

I’m in love but also frantic
to solve the puzzle of your cheeks.

Thus, I crossed the wide Atlantic
So I could nuzzle on your cheeks.

Yet I’m now locked up in jail
For getting too close to your cheeks.

But if you don’t mind posting bail
I’ll say I’m sorry to your cheeks…

If you’ll agree, you were a bad boy
Showing your backside in Troy.


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