National Poetry Day with Graffeg
Thursday 5th October 2023 is National Poetry Day! Here at Graffeg we believe that poetry has the power to share and communicate unlike any other expressive art. To celebrate we got chatting to Graffeg's Managing Director, Peter Gill, and Publishing Director, Matthew Howard, about the importance of poetry and their own personal literary tastes.
To celebrate National Poetry Day, Graffeg are offering 10% off their poetry titles. This discount is available until midday on Monday 9th October. View what's on offer by following the link below:
Q: Why is it important that Graffeg publishes poetry?
PG: Poetry is a very important short form of language and is entirely different to other forms of communication. It is the jazz of language, either spoken or read. It’s inspirational, improvisational and expressive. We started publishing ‘rhyming text’ in books with Animal Surprises series by Nicola Davies and Abbie Cameron, and we’ve recently published Choose Love also by Nicola, a selection of poems about the real life experiences of refugees with illustrations by Petr Horáček.
MH: When its done correctly, rhyme can carry the reader on a journey of understanding that surpasses words alone. This might be an emotional response to a subject or a straightforward retention of knowledge - either way it’s the form that elicits the response, not simply the words used. As a publisher, especially of books for children, it’s important that Graffeg is alert to the possibilities of poetry and keen to engage with it when the subject matter benefits from it.
Q: Do you have any favourite poems? What do you always find yourselves returning to?
PG: My favourite would have to be Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas.
MH: Gosh, this is a tricky one. Yeats, Donne, Rossetti, all the usual favourites that feature on a GCSE curriculum. But there are also those well crafted song lyrics that just make me almost weep for the simplicity of their form yet the depth of meaning they convey. Steve Harley, Springsteen, Robert Smith even John Otway - all feature in my top 10 for a single line in an otherwise unremarkable song that is absolutely ... and there’s no other word for it ... perfect.
Q: What makes a good poem?
PG: Great poetry will certainly leave you with images and lasting ideas.
MH: Something that stops you in your tracks and makes you feel differently from the moment before you read it. And then stays with you forever.
Q: How will you celebrate National Poetry Day?
PG: I shall read Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas.
MH: Editing my daughter’s poetry collection. As a recent graduate from Royal Holloway she’s keen to bring together her poetic output from the last couple of years and so I’ve offered my editorial services.
Q: Any advice for anyone looking to start reading or writing poetry?
PG: Make a start and keep reading the poetry you enjoy, over and over – like listening to a favourite piece of music.
MH: Poetry is everywhere – in song lyrics, advertising slogans, speeches delivered by powerful figures in history… everywhere where language is spoken or written. So you never have to look far to find it. Find what you like, be it a romantic ballad, a limerick, the lyrics of Meatloaf, and just enjoy the words and how they make you feel. Then go find some more.