NATIONAL POETRY DAY – UK and Ireland – First Thursday in October

National Poetry Day - First Thursday in October
(Last Updated On: November 21, 2022)


National Poetry Day on the first Thursday in October promotes poetry and encourages the public to get involved with this artistic genre of literature.  Observed in the United Kingdom, this observance also has a global presence since poetry effects everyone.

Through classroom activities and other events, this day engages millions of people of all ages. The observance infuses poetry into every area of the nation. From schools and businesses to coffee shops and clinics, poets recite and write their ballads and meter. The program is coordinated by the Forward Arts Foundation, a charity whose mission celebrates poetry and increases awareness.

Exposing more people to poetry opens up the opportunity for creative expression. Not only that, but listening to and reading a variety of poetry inspires more profound thought. Poetry impacts music and art, dance, and humor. Whether it’s the rhythm of the meter or the meaning a poet imbues in a line, we walk away from a poem somehow changed.

Poetry also offers a unique way to appreciate the world around us. Many poets express thoughts they otherwise cannot speak. Often, a perspective may be presented that prose does not allow. For ages, poetry has been educating and entertaining us.

Some of the most famous English and Irish poets include:

  • William Shakespeare
  • William Wordsworth
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • John Keats
  • Seamus Heaney
  • William Butler Yeats
  • Patrick Kavanagh

Despite the fact some of these poets lived hundreds of years ago, their poetry is still being read, enjoyed, and memorized today.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalPoetryDay

The United Kingdom and Ireland celebrate National Poetry Day by gathering poets in a variety of settings. For example, some poets assemble in a “Poetry as Therapy” group. Other poets gather at local cafes and read poetry while sipping tea and eating scones. Some even gather their courage to do poetry karaoke. Libraries, hospitals, and other organizations host events to celebrate, too. Many poetry contests are also held.

You may not live in the UK or Ireland, but you can still take part in National Poetry Day. One of the most effective ways to share poetry is to read it aloud. Read your favorite poems to those you love. Try writing a verse or two in a variety of styles. If you don’t want to read it aloud, post your favorite lyrics on social media using #NationalPoetryDay.


William Sieghart founded National Poetry Day in 1994. Since then, millions of people have become engaged in reading, writing, and listening to poetry. The Forward Arts Foundation coordinates and sponsors National Poetry Day annually on the first Thursday in October. This charity is committed to widening the audience for poetry and deepen appreciation for this art form. Each year the Foundation compiles an anthology of the year’s best poems. To kickstart inspiration, there is always a loose theme for National Poetry Day. Recent themes have included:

2019: Truth
2018: Change
2017: Freedom
2016: Messages
2015: Light
2014: Remember

6 October 2022
5 October 2023
3 October 2024
2 October 2025
1 October 2026
7 October 2027
5 October 2028
4 October 2029
3 October 2030

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