Today is National Poetry Day, and the culmination of my week of choosing and posting a daily poem.
Among the many online and real-time events today, Chris Riddell, former Children’s Laureate and poetry lover, will be your guide on a visual journey by live-illustrating some of the poems from his anthology, Poems to Save the World With. It starts at 11 o’clock, it’s free – register here.
There are more resources to help you enjoy, discover and share poetry on the National Poetry Day website. Here you will find ideas for activities, resources, recommendations, and lesson plans (you register for these; it’s straightforward, and free).
In the next few days, I may post some extra links to other poetry-related organisations, competitions and awards. Now, though, it’s time for my final choice.
Kwame Alexander is an American, from New York, a poet and novelist, probably best known for his verse novels, such as The Crossover, Rebound, and Booked. He has won the Newbery Medal, the Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award. Recently, his powerful poem The Undefeated has been published as a standalone book, wonderfully illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
The Book Trust has a magnificent film of the poet performing the poem to a group of youngsters. We have linked to this clip before, but I really wanted this for my final selection. It is perfect, and never fails to move me no matter how many times I watch it. The poem is exceptionally powerful, matched with beautiful, fitting illustrations, which come across clearly in skilful camera-work. The poet’s delivery is strong but careful, respectful of each individual black life on his roll call, dramatic yet measured. The young audience are rapt. It is just 3.32 minutes long – please make time to watch it.
Then go out and buy the book!