National Poetry Day is a UK-wide campaign on 3 October that celebrates poetry’s power of bringing people together. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the special date.

As you’d expect from Hallmark, we’re big fans of poetry. Rhyme can instantly wow a reader in a way that few other forms of writing can. It’s also seeing a surge in popularity, with verse popping up in some unusual places, from Nationwide adverts to Instagram feeds.

And thanks to National Poetry Day, thousands of literary events are taking place across the country, in schools, libraries, cafes…and our head office! We held a series of workshops and events in the run up to the date – read on to discover more.

1) Poem in Your Pocket

The theme for this year’s National Poetry Day is ‘truth.’ It’s a complicated and subjective thing and some ideas can have several different and sometimes conflicting ʻtruths.’

With this in mind, editor Angela Stone asked The Writing Studio to create a short poem based on the following titles:

  • 6 Ways to Look at Happiness
  • 6 Ways to Look at Love
  • 6 Ways to Look at Friendship

The editors wrote at least one piece for each theme. These pieces formed a poem that was placed around the office so Hallmarkers could tear off a line of poetry and keep it in their pocket.

The tearaway ‘Poems in Your Pocket’ as seen around the office

We love the idea of ‘poetry on the go’ and were glad we could share some happiness (and love and friendship) around the office.

2) Picoems: Poetic Inspiration in Unexpected Places

Editor Hannah Woodcock led this workshop, which focused on poems inspired by photographic prompts – also known as ‘Picoems’!

Using different poetic styles, The Writing Studio explored how everyday scenes and objects (such as fire extinguishers and lampposts) can spark interesting metaphors and new ways of writing.

Hannah will also be running the workshop at Ilkley Fringe Festival on Saturday 5 October. You can view the full programme here for more free literary events.

3) You’re a Poet & You Know It

In this creative session, Hallmarkers explored contemporary poetry with writer and illustrator Nick Steel.

Nick Steel reading (and enjoying!) poetry

Nick believes that poetry doesn’t have to be traditional or ‘mushy’ and that it has the power to speak to us more intimately than any other form of art – echoing National Poetry Day’s focus on ‘truth.’

‘Colourful’ poems to inspire colourful writing

We wrote odes to purple hedgehogs, acrostics about serendipity and narrative poems about fictional characters. Using letter tiles, we also explored how single words can expand our ability to feel our strongest emotions. It was an incredibly inspiring Wednesday morning!

Why Poetry Matters

As we discovered from the writing exercises, poetry lets you look at things from another (sometimes unexpected) point of view. Expressing yourself with a well-phrased poem is also a way to let someone glimpse your true feelings.

We’re already looking forward to National Poetry Day 2020. In the meantime, we’ll be exploring more ways poetry can inspire our cards and creative content!