National Poetry Day UK 2015 Puts the Spotlight on Light

On Thursday 8 October, the UK celebrates its National Poetry Day and this year’s theme is light. The organizers are hoping to inspire people to record their own creative responses to poetry, as part of a competition culminating with a display of the winning words, images and videos in the Blackpool Illuminations event.


All public are invited to join in, by thinking of a poem and sharing it on Twitter with the hashtags #nationalpoetryday and #thinkofapoem.

To encourage the participation of everyone on the National Poetry Day UK, the organizers have listed several poems and prepared educational resources themed about light.  They also have published a free book titled “LIGHT – A National Poetry Day Anthology“ with poems from 12 National Poetry Day ambassadors. Check the event programme to know if there will be an event celebrating poetry and light close to you.

In addition, leading graphic and visual artists have teamed up with renowned poets and famous voices to make new films and digital art work on the “make like a poet” initiative. In a film created by the artist Bridget Smith, Stephen Hawking recites a poem called Relativity, which was written for him by the Forward prize-shortlisted poet Sarah Howe. You can listen to the poem on the video below.

The National Poetry Day UK is organized by the Forward Arts Foundation. For more information on the event please visit the National Poetry Day UK website.

About IYL 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations (A/RES/68/221) to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.  With UNESCO as lead agency, IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.  The IYL Global Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

The Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). 

Patron Sponsors include Bosca, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Royal Philips Lighting, Thorlabs and UL.


John Dudley
Steering Committee Chair
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015

Joe Niemela
Global Coordinator (IYL Secretariat)
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015