Prince reads Seamus Heaney's The Shipping Forecast for National Poetry Day


The Prince of Wales has recorded a reading of Seamus Heaney's poem The Shipping Forecast in celebration of National Poetry Day.

Charles's minute-long reading will be aired on BBC Radio 4´s Today programme as part of a nationwide celebration of the literary event on Thursday.

The recording will also be featured at the newly-opened Seamus Heaney HomePlace centre in Northern Ireland, which showcases the late poet's life and work.

Seamus Heaney

The theme of this year's National Poetry Day is Messages and the public are being encouraged to "say it with a poem".

The Royal Mail will postmark items for National Poetry Day and 40 local BBC radio stations will each broadcast a poem commissioned by a writer local to their area.

Poems by young refugees and migrants will be featured on Channel 4 in place of the usual short video introductions that appear before each programme.

Prince Charles

St Pancras International station in London will distribute poetry-themed tickets to travellers, who will also be treated to poet storytellers performing throughout the day.

Singer PJ Harvey will collaborate with young poetry producers who will be curating readings, films, performances and workshops facilitated by The Poetry Society and Southbank Centre.

Celebrations in Wales will see four aspiring poets trying to compose 100 new poems in 24 hours, with their subject matter chosen by the public.

National Poetry Day director Susannah Herbert said: "A poem can reach places that prose just can't.

"That's why we're inviting all with anything important to say today to say it with a poem. It can be new or old, utterly original or a familiar favourite.

PJ Harvey

"It can be deep and dark, funny or memorable. By enjoying, discovering or sharing a poem - words that draw attention to themselves - you change the nature of the national conversation."

Last year a host of famous names such as JK Rowling, Ellen DeGeneres and Sir Paul McCartney all shared poems on social media.

The day is organised by the Forward Arts Foundation charity, which describes itself on its website as being "committed to widening poetry's audience, honouring achievement and supporting talent" through various endeavours, one of them being National Poetry Day.