Charles chooses favourite Wordsworth lines to mark National Poetry Day


The Prince of Wales will share some of his favourite lines by the poet William Wordsworth to celebrate National Poetry Day.

The annual celebration, which takes place on the first Thursday of October, this year focuses on the theme of “vision”.

Charles has marked the day with a reading on BBC Radio in previous years, choosing Quoting Shakespeare by Bernard Levin in 2019.

The day will also feature appearances from Welsh singer Cerys Matthews, poet laureate Simon Armitage and author Margaret Atwood.

Atwood will debut a new poem taken from her forthcoming collection, titled Dearly.

She said: “Poetry has always been central to my other forays into language.

“It opens doors for me into spaces that may later be found to contain stories.”

The Testaments released
The Testaments released

The National Poetry Day team, in partnership with Waterstones and Penguin Random House, has invited people to submit their responses to Atwood’s poem via social media.

They can post a video performance of the poem, a picture or a short poem of their own, using the hashtag #AtwoodNPD for a chance to win a copy of Dearly.

Other initiatives include a reading from Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage by Armitage.

It's #NationalPoetryDay tomorrow, come write your sad ditties & silly rhymes in good company. Live from noon FOR 24 HOURS, with fab guests: @donpatersonpoet, @InuaEllams, @nktgill, @RaymondAntrobus, @RepeatBeatPoet, @beehartyeah, @Poetry_Pharmacy 👉👉👉

— Leena Norms (@leenanorms) September 30, 2020

National Poetry Day will also host its first 24-hour poetry lock-in on Instagram Live, led by YouTuber Leena Norms.

The online event will feature Matthews previewing her new album – a poetry and music collaboration – plus poets Don Paterson, Nikita Gill and Inua Ellams.

Some 40 BBC local radio stations have invited their listeners to write and upload their own poems, inspired by Scottish poet Kate Clanchy’s “poem in 10 minutes” classes.

Poet Benjamin Zephaniah said of the day: “National Poetry Day helps people discover poetry: it doesn’t just get them thinking about poetry, it gets them thinking about the world.

“If I want to know what a woman’s life is like, say, where can I go?

“I could listen to the government and I’d get a bland version of it, or I could look at some statistics, but if I want to know what they feel like when they get up in the morning, and what they feel like when they have children, or what they feel that when they go to the bathroom, poetry will tell me a lot more.

“I could say, without sounding too dramatic, that poetry saved my life.”

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