National Poetry Day Klaxon!

National Poetry Day Klaxon!

The Poetry By Heart 2021 competition launches on 30th September and we’ll have new goodies going live on the site then. To get the extras for the competition, more poetry resources and competition support, you’ll need to be registered – but that’s free! You need your school postcode and five minutes – just click on the red REGISTER button at the top of the homepage.

But mostly this week we’re thinking about National Poetry Day on Thursday 1st October. If you set the Summer Challenge and already have some students with a poem by heart, NPD is a perfect excuse to give them their 1 minute 23 seconds in the spotlight.

If you’re quick off the mark now, you could set the challenge of learning a short poem from one of the Poetry By Heart poem collections in 2 weeks. Could they recite their poem in class, or form group, or virtual bubble assembly? Or could you learn a poem and surprise the living daylights out of your students by reciting it to them?

Or… for an activity on National Poetry Day, have a go at a group recitation – check out our Maggie and Millie and Molly and May starter activity for this – and feel entirely free to adapt it to any poem.

But the secret I’ve been keeping for months is my plan for a flashmob recitation of Robert Southey’s The Cataract of Lodore with pupils at my local PBH-friendly school. Covid-19 has scuppered it – flashmobs pop up in crowded spaces and rehearsals are impossible! But if you want to try a socially distanced choral recitation of this poem, I’ll happily share the version of the poem I annotated with starting points for rehearsal – just email me via

Whatever you get up to on National Poetry Day, if it’s out loud or by heart, we’d love to hear about it. Send us up to 100 words (preferably with a photo we can share) and we’ll feature as many as we can on our blog next time.

Julie Blake
Director, Poetry By Heart