Newhaven Book Beats – October 2021

national poetry day

Thursday 7th October 2021 is National Poetry Day in UK. Illustrations © Alezeia FV

Newhaven School Library Blog/News, Reviews and Giveaways
Carole Oldfield

Book Beats this month is dedicated to poetry. You’ll find links to websites with poems to read, learn, watch and listen to. If you are a bit of a poet yourself, (and who isn’t?), or if you write lyrics or perform, take a look at the poetry competitions.

national poetry day

National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day is 7th October 2021 and this year the theme is ‘Choice’ so why not choose a poem? See a selection of poems on this theme here.

Newhaven Poetry Workshops

On Tuesday 5th October Newhaven students from all sites got a chance to write their own poems when spoken word poet Zohab Zee Khan came to school. Zohab was Australian Poetry Slam Champion in 2014 and has performed in over twenty countries.

He performed ‘Imagine’ for some of the Newhaven students. In this video he delivers it for the Pakistan Poetry Slam, a competition which he co-founded.

Poetry By Heart

poetry by heart

This is the most amazing site. The poem collections are organised on age range timelines from the year 1000 to the present. Click on each poem to read it and hear it performed. Don’t stop there. Each poem is also explored through notes and information about the poet.

I choose a poem by Jackie Kay called ‘Dusting the Phone’ from the timeline anthology 14+, year 1993. In the final verse, the poet reflects on the pain of love. She cannot imagine what choice she would make if the person she is addressing does not ring. So a poem about choice can be about lack of choice.

I am trapped in it. I can’t move. I want you.
All the time. This is awful – only a photo.
Come on, damn you, ring me. Or else. What?
I don’t know what.

Taking Part in the Poetry by Heart Competition

This competition is held each year.

There are three main types of national entry this year, all possible by video performances made at home or in school. Follow these steps.

  • Chose a poem
  • Learn it by heart
  • Perform the poem out loud
  • Record it.
  • Upload your performance.

Ask me if you’d like help with any or all of these steps. You’ll need adult permission.

Winners are invited to an award ceremony at the Globe Theatre in Central London.

Highlights of the 2020 Poetry by Heart competition.

Royal Borough of Greenwich Poetry Competition

Get your skates on if you plan to enter the Royal Borough of Greenwich Schools poetry competition. All students, Key Stages 1 – 5, are invited to write a poem on the theme of CHOICE. The maximum number of lines is 20 and the deadline is Friday 12th November.

We will submit entries via school email so see me or an English teacher for help.

Poetry for Black History Month

October is Black History Month. I am totally riveted and deeply moved by the selection of poems at ‘Poets Corner’ on the Black Lives Matter 2021 website.

This collection contains classic and contemporary poems, performances and readings. It includes film, sound installations, excerpts and interviews.

I could have chosen so many of the poems to share with you, from Battle rap to classics such as the one I eventually settled on, ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou.

The Black Lives Matter strapline this year is ‘Proud To Be’. Maya Angelou’s reading demonstrates this beautifully.


And finally, the Poetry Library, (I love this library. Please do look it up.), has now added an Instapoetry category to their catalogue. It’s a social media craze which is making an impact on the poetry scene.

Jess and Chris from the Poetry Library explain what it is and provide good examples.


There are two ways to snaffle a gift book giveaway this month. This month the gift book will be a blank note book and pen to help you write your own poetry.

  1. Choose one poem from any of the sites above, send me a link and tell me why you chose this poem. Minimum 30 words, maximum 100 words. Or you can visit me in the library to show me the poem and explain.
  2. Submit an entry for one of the competitions in the October Book Beats. See me to submit the poem.

END NOTE: Look for Books

We have poetry books to borrow in Gardens and Kings Park libraries. Look for Dewey classification 821 and ask me.

Contact me at and remember to use your school email account.