Verbal celebrates National Poetry Day UK 2016

It’s National Poetry Day UK today, a day for celebrating poets and poetry of all kinds across the land. We believe in poetry as an essential part of our literary landscape and heritage, being life-affirming, restorative, inspiring and most of all, highly enjoyable!

Picture for blog story Verbal celebrates National Poetry Day UK 2016

Lagan Press will be sharing some new work from Northern Irish poets on the Lagan Facebook page, as well as sharing some old favourites. In addition, here’s an insight into some of our favourite poems that we’ve enjoyed sharing with our groups in the Reading Rooms:

Roger McGough’s ‘The Sound Collector’, starts with the evocative stanza:

'A stranger called this morning
Dressed all in black and grey
Put every sound into a bag
And carried them away.'

We had some powerful responses to this piece from many of our groups. In a stroke survivor group, for instance, a man who had great difficulty speaking, re-read the final line of the poem time and again, linking it back to his own experience of recovering from a stroke: 'Life will never be the same.' Many of our volunteers also cite this as one of their favourite poems to read with groups. The imagery in it can be read in so many different ways, literally and metaphorically.

Performance poet Kate Tempest's accessible and passionate language from ‘Brand New Ancients’, exploring existential questions, really clicks with many of our young people's groups, i.e. children at risk or in care.

Another favourite is Carol Ann Duffy. Poems such as 'The Woman in the Moon' and 'The Christmas Truce' inspired many a Reading Room conversation eliciting powerful and emotional responses.

To name but a few more, we also love the work of Donegal-born Moya Cannon, as well as George MacKay Brown ('Beachcomber'), Benjamin Zephaniah ('People need People'), Lemn Sissay ('Suitcases and Muddy Parks'), Gillian Clarke ('The Girl and the Fox'), and Derry-born Colette Bryce, especially her wonderful poem 'My Theory' which explores the impact of fear on the mind with a lovely twist at the end.

And of course, let's not forget the always formidable Seamus Heaney, with poems such as 'Follower', 'The Wife's Tale' and 'When All the Others Were Away At Mass' having formed the basis of many a powerful Reading Room over the years.

You can find out more about National Poetry Day and download free resources from their website.
Or follow them on Twitter at @PoetryDayUK

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