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Have you heard, have you heard? Today, the 9th of October, is National Poetry Day! How, you might wonder, in the absence of specified cultural rituals does one celebrate National Poetry Day? The “Hug a Poet” campaign is one I myself have always advocated, but depending on the personal space preferences of your targeted poet, this move, however well intentioned, may not be so favourably received. Might I suggest instead that you put on your very best (Pru)frock and flounce along to any of the many lovely National Poetry Day events going on about town today?
If you make, or made, it out to Canary Wharf this morning for Poet in the City’s 8am Poetry Breakfast with Pascale Petit, well, my friend, you are a more committed poetry junkie than I. Generally, I stick to coffee before the eleventh hour, which is just the time to hear Litro’s fearless editor Tom Chivers chat with the folks at Radio 4 about his residency at Bishopsgate Institute. Tom will also be appearing at Whitechapel Gallery tonight at 7pm as part of its Plum live literature event. And if you want to make a full day of it, head to either the National Poetry Day or the Poetry Library websites for additional listings for today’s events.
I leave you, for now, with something silly. Because the fact is that I’ve trolled YouTube for the past hour looking for a clip that would best encapsulate the bits of verse I most want to celebrate today. But there’s too much good stuff to winnow the list down.
So onto those purveyors of silliness. Their tone is irreverent, but the sentiment is well meaning. Indeed, a poet is essential for complete home comfort.
P.S. Dear MPs, I believe this would be the perfect opportunity to institute another bank holiday.
By Julie Palmer-Hoffman