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National Poetry Day at 25: Michael O’Mara Books to launch new poetry podcast

Posted on: 16/07/2019 with tags Trade Releases

Michael O’Mara Books and Forward Arts Foundation are to launch a new poetry podcast to mark the publication of Tell Me the Truth About Life: A National Poetry Day Anthology, in celebration of National Poetry Day’s 25th anniversary on 3rd October 2019.

Tell Me the Truth About Life: Poems That Matter and Why – a Poetry Podcast will be a five-episode podcast series in which five much-loved names read and discuss their favourite poems and the truths that poetry speaks to them.

The podcast, introduced by poetry lover and BBC presenter Cerys Matthews, features Susannah Herbert, Executive Director of the Forward Arts Foundation, in conversation with:

  • Nikita Gill – writer and poet
  • Michael Morpurgo – author
  • Henry Normal – comedian and TV producer
  • Jade Anouka – actor
  • Kate Clanchy – teacher and author

Following a public call-out in October 2018, people across the UK were asked to nominate poems old and new that touch on ‘a truth that matters to me’. Thousands of poems were submitted, alongside nominations from high-profile names including: actor and screenwriter Mark Gatiss; Britain’s first astronaut, Helen Sharman; author and former Labour MP Ed Balls; comedian Frank Skinner; journalist and author Dolly Alderton and former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

All poems have been curated and introduced by Cerys Matthews to form the collection Tell Me the Truth About Life: A National Poetry Day Anthology – 100 Poems That Matter, published on 12th September 2019.

The first episode of the podcast will be available for download on Monday 2nd September, with a new episode available each week in the run up to National Poetry Day, with the final episode available on Monday 30th September. The podcast will be available across all platforms including iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify.

Cerys Matthews said: “A search for truth seems inevitable in this loud decade. Could this be why we’ve seen poetry dust itself off and proceed to strut down the catwalk of art as a valid, resonant, powerful means of communication? Since first asking people  ‘what poems speak truth to you?’, I have been overwhelmed with responses from the public, from friends, from colleagues. You can sample their suggestions on the Tell Me The Truth About Life podcast, an audio accompaniment to the book of the same name, a ‘people’s anthology’ of poetry released to coincide with National Poetry Day’s 25th anniversary this year. This project’s origins began a few years ago, when, like many others, I felt poetry regaining power and relevance, giving voice to the unheard and creating a place to share and question ideas.”

 Susannah Herbert, Executive Director at Forward Arts Foundation, said: “Good poems start good conversations: when you ask people for the words that mean the most to them, words that touch on truth, they inevitably think aloud about their lives in new ways. They reach for lines of poetry, because ordinary prose just won’t do: National Poetry Day is just one day in October, but this new podcast means listeners can enjoy it all year round.”

A percentage of royalties from the sale of Tell Me the Truth About Life will be donated to Forward Arts Foundation, the charity behind National Poetry Day. Michael O’Mara Books will use the hashtag #TellMetheTruthAboutLife for publication.