“When the winds of change blow” great things can happen, that’s what we say here at Literature Works… Autumn is certainly a season for change: days grow shorter, nights draw in and there is a frisson of excitement in the air. Fitting then, that the theme of this year’s National Poetry Day on 4th October, is ‘poetry for a change’.

With so much happening on a local and global scale, this is a fitting theme for our times. When it can be confusing to articulate how we’re feeling, poetry can help us make sense of the world. It can speak for an individual or a group, in a universal language that can be shared and enjoyed by people across the world. As we prepare to celebrate National Poetry Day 2018, here are some of the highlights for the South West:

#WritingPlaces live tweeting across the day.
We’re delighted that as part of her two-month residency at Greenway House in Brixham, award winning digital writer and performer J.R. Carpenter will be live tweeting poetic fragments and observations about the River Dart and its environs. Over the course of the day, these tweets will form a poem. We’ll be following her progress all day and will be tweeting from @LitWorks. Follow her progress using the hashtags #NationalPoetryDay and #Writing Places. At 4pm, the finished poem will be posted to J.R.’s blog. We can’t wait to see the finished product. Writing Places is a Literature Works partnership with the National Trust.

#Poetryforachange BBC local poets
As part of a special BBC commission celebrating National Poetry Day, Cornwall-based poet Katrina Naomi has been selected to represent the South West.

Katrina has been asked to write a poem on the theme of ‘change’, based around a story provided by one BBC Radio Cornwall listener. She has been filmed reading the poem and this will be broadcast on BBC Spotlight on 4th October. Additionally, Katrina will be interviewed on Debbie McCrory’s programme on BBC Radio Cornwall at around 4.30pm.

The Edge of the World Bookshop in Penzance will feature the poem on a poster in their window and we will be sharing an exclusive interview with Katrina on Thursday as well as publishing the poem.

Congratulations to Katrina.

As part of the BBC local poets commission, comedian, TV producer and poet Henry Normal talks about the theme of ‘Change’ and its connection to poetry here.

A commemorative reading at ExCite poetry festival in honour of Alex Cluness
In January of this year, our former colleague Alex Cluness sadly passed away. Alex was a key part of the team who established Literature Works and was influential to the literature scene across the South West.

We are pleased that our Annual Fund was able to provide a grant to Exeter Poetry Festival – behind which Alex was a driving force – for a special event in his memory. Alex will be remembered by some of the South West poets who knew him and the evening will feature readings of his own work.

City Gate Hotel, Exeter 7.30 pm.

Trained poet Claire Coleman delivering a poetry and reminiscence session at Gloucester Library for National Poetry Day.
Our National Memory Day project brings the power of poetry to those living with memory loss by placing trained poets in Memory Cafés across the South West. For National Poetry Day, poet Claire Coleman will run one of these unique sessions at Gloucester Library, sharing the joy of poetry with people living with dementia and their carers. Join us: 10.30 am – 12.30 pm, 4th October.

National Memory Day Poetry competition
If you’re feeling inspired to put pen to paper in time for National Poetry Day, our National Memory Day poetry competition is still open until 5th October. Seeking submissions of poems on the theme of ‘memory’, we have two prize categories: Poetry Prize and Primary Carer Voice Prize.

You can enter by post (entries post-marked 5th October will be accepted) or online. Entry fees are £3 for the first poem and £2 for each additional poem. All proceeds will be directly reinvested into our project which places poets in Memory Cafés. All submission details are here.

If you’re looking to get out and about across the region to celebrate, why not check out one of these events:

Our friends at The Writers’ Block are holding a Speakeasy for National Poetry Day, compere Megan Chapman – acclaimed performance word artist will share her work and kick off a new season of Speakeasy sessions. 6.30 – 8.30 pm.

Tongue Fu featuring Boat Poets
Word on Tour star and celebrated spoken word poet Chris Redmond has teamed up with Boat poets – a talent development programme for young poets to present a special edition of Tongue Fu, his spoken word show.

There’s plenty of great events happening across the region to get you inspired this National Poetry. We hope you’ll join us as we read, listen to, recite and share poetry #forachange.

Written by Michelle Phillips, Literature Development Officer.