Famous voices help light up Illuminations

Blackpool Illuminations National Poetry Day Switch-On. Pictured; (From Left to Right) Poet Mark Grist, Joannah & Daughter Charlotte Pickstone, & Coun Vick Singleton.

Blackpool Illuminations National Poetry Day Switch-On. Pictured; (From Left to Right) Poet Mark Grist, Joannah & Daughter Charlotte Pickstone, & Coun Vick Singleton.

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To mark the 21st anniversary of National Poetry Day, Blackpool Illuminations were lit up with poetry in response to a nationwide call to ‘make like a poet’.

The theme of National Poetry Day this year was light.

Leading graphic artist Anthony Burrill selected creative responses for the display.

Contributions came from across the country, after a campaign featuring Professor Stephen Hawking, Sean Bean, Samantha Morton, Juliet Stevenson, Neil Nunes and poet Aoife Mannix, and Anthony chose three very different interpretations to put into the Lights.

Trainee teacher Joannah Pickstone, from Warrington, tweeted a photograph of her baby daughter, showing what to ‘Love like a poet’ meant to her.

She was joined by Bradley Justice and Thomas Threlfall, year 9 students at Ryburn Valley High School in Sowerby Bridge who co-wrote a poem, ‘Firefly’ including the line: ‘my bottom is bright because it’s a light’.

Their class has been writing poetry about light, inspired by the National Poetry Day theme. The third selected was Joseph Coelho, a leading performance poet and playwright from London who tweeted ‘Stars giggle like babies in the blanket of night’.

All three contributions were projected on to the screen unveiled on the promenade near Gynn Square on Wednesday.

Anyone could take part in National Poetry Day on Thursday, by downloading and sharing Anthony Burrill’s “make like a poet” images as posters.

They were accompanied by films of poems read by famous voices .

These works were co-commissioned by Thirteen Ways and The Space in partnership with National Poetry Day and the BBC.