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National Poetry Day Quiz

23 September 2016

National Poetry Day Quiz

Celebrate National Poetry Day on the 6th October with Celia Warren's message-themed quiz, featuring selected poems from the A Time to Speak and a Time to Listen poetry anthology.

The days are getting shorter, horse chestnut shells lie broken on the grass and winter coats are beginning to appear in the shops. It can only mean one thing: National Poetry Day is almost upon us. Coinciding with the arrival of autumn, this national celebration of all things poetical is the perfect antidote to cold nights and grey skies, soothing us with stanzas, reassuring us with rhyme and providing lyrical sustenance to see us through the winter months.

This year’s celebration happens on the 6th October and promises to be bigger than ever, with a raft of events scheduled to take place in schools, homes and offices across the country. The organisers are even hoping that the festivities will make it as far as the Antarctic, where scientists from the British Antarctic Survey are planning to read poetry to the only audience available for miles, namely penguins.

The theme for National Poetry Day 2016 is “messages”, making it the perfect opportunity to turn ordinary communications into memorable ones, by using favourite poems to communicate the messages that matter most. Whether it’s saying sorry, telling someone you love them, asking for help or simply saying hello, what better way to share your message than with a carefully chosen poem.

To help children get into the spirit of National Poetry Day, author and poet Celia Warren has devised a short quiz based on a selection of poems from the Schofield & Sims anthology, A Time to Speak and a Time to Listen. There are some wonderful poems with messages among the 100 poems in the anthology, so why not ask children to look them up and find the answers to the following questions:

This poet believed in life after death. Who is he talking to?
Death Be Not Proud - John Donne (poem #5)

Was it the same person who carried this message?
A Final Appointment - Eric Finney (poem #4)

Sometimes 'actions speak louder than words'. What message do these actions convey?
Necklace - Chrissie Gittins (poem #20)

Here's a trickier question that could be open to many possible answers: what was written on this note and why was it crumpled and thrown in the fire?
What Has Happened to Lulu? - Charles Causley (poem #27)

Sometimes messages are carved in stone to speak to future generations. But how long do they last?
The Children and Sir Nameless - Thomas Hardy (poem #46)

What happened when a note was passed round a class during a lesson?
The Note - Jill Townsend (poem #74)

Further ideas for exploring these, and the others poems in the anthology, can be found in the A Time to Speak and a Time to Listen Teacher’s Guide. For more National Poetry Day inspiration, visit the National Poetry Day website where you will find lesson plans, competitions and a helpful list of message-themed poems to enjoy and share as National Poetry Day approaches. However you end up celebrating, just make sure you #sayitwithapoem.

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