Today (Thursday 8th October 2015) marks the 21st birthday of National Poetry Day.

Now, there a lot of these national days floating around at the moment  – National Badger Day (6th October);  National Higher Education Day (6th June); and even National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day (3rd January). But National Poetry Day is one to pay particular attention to.

Poetry was my first foray into the world of words. My mother didn’t read bedtime stories to us (too boring, she claimed), but rather she read us poems. I can still recite some of my childhood favourites off by heart  – The Jabberwocky; There are Fairies at the Bottom of my Garden; Eletelephony. Poems – like music – have a habit of sticking with you for life. Even if you’ve become disillusioned with poetry with age, chances are you can remember some snippets of rhymes or stanzas from years gone by. That is the beauty of poetry.

But what of poetry’s content? Mr. Darcy once mused that poetry is the food of love, and that is certainly true. But poetry is about more than love. Sure, love is a pretty popular topic amongst poets (closely followed by nature and childhood), but poetry is about politics, and anger, and silliness, and sorrow, and grief, and joy, and every other emotion it is possible for a human to feel – and maybe some that it’s not.

Anyone’s who’s ever attended a Spoken Word poetry slam knows just how powerful poetry can be. Spoken word is, to me, poetry in its true form. It is a raw expression of humanity. The energy level in a room full of spoken word poets is palpable and awe-inspiring; and the range of themes and topics that can be covered in just one event is astounding.

So this National Poetry Day, take some time to read some poetry – it doesn’t have to be sophisticated, or poignant, or even literary.  You might choose Tennyson, or Auden, but you’d be equally within your rights to choose some silly childhood rhyme. Poetry is poetry after all.

And if you don’t have time to dig out a dusty poetry collection (or come into the shop to see what we have to offer!), then here’s a few of my favourite spoken word pieces that you can listen to: