Today is National Poetry Day here in the UK. This is a day to celebrate poetry in all its many forms, and right across the country people will be writing, reading, sharing and discussing poetry. The theme this year is ‘Stars’, and there are some fascinating projects – someone is even using fireworks to send poetry quite literally to the stars.
Great Writers Inspire includes learning resources which focus on many of the stars of literary history, including Shakespeare and Jane Austen. The materials are also arranged by theme, meaning you can see how these stars form constellations with other writers.
However, for me, there is one starry poet in particular that shines in my mind. John Keats (1795-1821) was one of the main figures in the second wave of the English Romantic poetry movement. You can download his poetry for free from Great Writers Inspire, and if you simply search for the term ‘star’ in the text (using control + f), you will find some of the finest examples of how stars can be rendered in poetry. Like all the materials provided here, these poems can be re-used and shared freely!
For now, I’ll leave you with the poem which gave its title to the 2009 film based on Keats’s life and romance, Bright Star.
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art
Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art —
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors —
No — yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever — or else swoon to death.