Happy World Poetry Day! Held every year on 21st March, World Poetry Day, according to UNESCO, celebrates ‘one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity.’
We’re big fans of the poetic form here at Nosy Crow, and are glad to have published a number of wonderful anthologies over the years: I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree, Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright and, most recently, And Everything Will Be Glad to See You. All three are perfect collections to begin a lifelong love of poetry.
This year, to celebrate World Poetry Day, we asked the team to pick their favourite poems, and tell us a little about why they made their choice. Here are their selections!
Our favourite poems
Manda Scott, Head of Design for Picture Books, picked Invictus by William Ernest Henley. She said: ‘This was a poem that I was introduced to as a teenager during a particularly difficult time in my life. I still remember the I felt reading those words “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” when I felt incredibly helpless to the world around me – it made me question why I felt so helpless. To this day have never forgotten them. My journey is not without obstacles – but how I navigate and react to them, is in my control.’
Rachel Kellehar, Publishing Director for Non-Fiction, Preschool and Activity, picked Refugees by Brian Bilston, and said: ‘This is one of my favourite poems, and very relevant given current news. It’s such a clever way of turning all the hateful and short-sighted discourse about migrants in desperate need of our help on its head. It makes me tear up almost every time I read it.’
Lauren Fairgrieve, Editor for Non-Fiction and Activity, picked Small Kindnesses by Danusha Laméris. She said: ‘This poem is one of my all-time favourites. The poet is grounded and doesn’t pretend that life is perfect – the focus in the writing itself is on the everyday actions that we all take for granted. Yet there’s something so hopeful and sweet about the message, I always come away from reading Small Kindnesses feeling optimistic about life.’
Hannah Kettle, Marketing Executive, picked Keep a Poem in Your Pocket by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers. She said: ‘I often think poetry is out of my reach but Keep a Poem in Your Pocket reminds me that poetry is about emotion and that a small handful of words, put in the right order, can spark powerful feelings every time you read them.’ (Keep a Poem in Your Pocket also features in our wonderful poetry anthology,And Everything Will Be Glad to See You.)
Miranda Baker, Senior Editor for Picture Books, chose The Hippopotamus by Ogden Nash. She said: ‘I loved Ogden Nash’s poetry as a child, and I love it still. This is one of my favourites as I enjoy the combination of the formal, quite old-fashioned language and the silly subject. It always makes me smile!’
Rebecca Anastasi, Assistant Editor for Picture Books, chose Moonless Night by Louise Glück. She said: ‘My favourite poem is Moonless Night by the American poet Louise Glück. I love its quiet, meditative tone and the sense of freedom in the lines: ‘Nothing / is always the answer; the answer / depends on the story.’ Glück’s rejection of a fixed truth opens up a world of possibility for the reader. Every person’s story is unique, and although our ‘answer’ might be different from others, it is no less worthy.’
Elizabeth Jenner, Editorial Director at Large, chose A Day Is Vast by Jane Hirshfield. She said: ‘I came across this poem recently, and as someone who is always overly optimistic about just how much I can achieve in one day, this first stanza very much speaks to me! I love the questions this poem throws up about our perceptions of time and possibility, and that beautiful, tactile metaphor of yesterday’s pondwater ‘braided still wet in my hair’ has stayed with me.’
We hope this selection has resonated with you and that you’ve discovered something new and inspiring to read. If your favourite poem doesn’t already feature on this list, do let us know what it is, and why you love it, on socials!