People from across Lincoln gathered in the city today to celebrate 22 years of National Poetry Day.

A variety of leading poetry and literary organisations gathered across the city to recognise the history and importance of poems and all things poetical.

National Poetry Day celebrates its 22nd anniversary this year. Photo: National Poetry Day
National Poetry Day celebrates its 22nd anniversary this year. Photo: National Poetry Day

The initiative, founded by the Forward Arts Foundation in 1994, encourages people of all ages to find a voice and promote the enjoyment of poetry.

Mouth Piece Poets, a spoken word collective based in Lincoln, invited members of the public on Lincoln high street to read their own poems and make their voices heard.

Gemma Baker, organiser of Mouth Piece Poets, said that the organisation offers a “really supportive group” that encourages people to express themselves through poetry.

“We talk a lot about serious issues but often in a humorous and relatable way,” she said.

“We often get members of the public coming up to us afterwards saying ‘wow that really meant a lot to me’ so it does make a massive difference.”

The theme for the day this year is messages, and Ms Baker believes the theme gives people the chance to connect with others through the power of spoken word.

“Spoken word is a message, it’s whatever the person wants to say, and actually getting up and releasing the poetry and what you need to say, to the public, is very important,” she added.

Professor Jason Whittaker of the University of Lincoln, who specialises in Victorian poetry, also believes the art can be an effective way of building a person’s character.

He said: “Poetry can often work much more effectively than prose because it’s easier to memorise and remember.

“The links between particular concentrations on language, as well as the patterns, rhythms and responses, means that poetry actually builds up an attitude on the part of the listener,” Professor Whittaker added.

National Poetry Day was officially marked by the Prince of Wales, who provided a reading of Seamus Heaney’s poem The Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.