National Poetry Day: October 5

15th September 2000 at 01:00
This year's theme is Fresh Voices, and posters and flyers have been sent to all schools and public libraries. The Poetry Society website,, can help you promote your school's events.

The East-Side Educational Trust is responsible for some of the most exciting projects scheduled so far. The 30 schools signed up with East-Side will start the day with a bid for a place in The Guinness Book of Records, with Patience Agbabi's "Word" recited en masse in assemblies across London. Poetry Raids (in which visiting performance poets will hijack lessons) will take schools by surprise later in the day.

East-Side is also reponsible for Urban Rhythms, in which teenage boys are working with performance poets with support from the Department for Education and Employment's Partners for Study Support scheme and the London Arts Board, and for Poetry Pals, an Internete-mail programme in which pupils fom East-Side's participating schools connect with their peers in New York to write joint poems. The Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank will host an event contributing to the record bid.

Winners of the Simon Elvin Prize for the National Young Poets of the Year (for 11 to 18-year-olds) will be announced at the same venue on the day and the Royal Mail series of films of children performing their poetry in locations all over the UK will be on show as part of the Poetry International Festival.

More competitions: The Poetry Society and Childline are running a sponsored children's competition on the theme of Hope or Trust, plus prizes for schools' fundraising events. Details from Helen Maynard on 020 7239 1017.

For adults, the Contemporary Poetry promotional leaflets in bookshops offer the chance to win a creative writing course on the Greek island of Skyros.

Geraldine Brennan

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