It’s National Poetry Day 2023 ! This celebration that encourages the UK to make, experience and share poetry with family and friends is held each year on the first Thursday of October.

A handful of Exact Editions’ brilliant poetry publishing partners have selected issues from their digital archives that celebrate the theme of this year’s event; ‘Refuge’. 

Poetry magazines make issues freely available for National Poetry Day 2023.

You can freely read, browse and search digital issues of Banipal, Magma Poetry, Modern Poetry in Translation, New Welsh Reader, PN Review, The Poetry Book Society and Poetry Wales until 5th November 2023 in the magazine showcase below:

Read on for some snippets, alongside some commentary from each publisher.

Banipal (Issue 57 — Autumn/Winter 2016):

Publisher Margaret Obank commented: “The poem ‘Boat to Lesbos’ in Banipal 57 (pp98–115) is by Syrian poet Nouri Al-Jarrah. We actually published this poem as a book, along with some other poems that the poet wrote on the same subject, the massive fleeing of Syrians across the Mediterranean seeking refuge anywhere but their own destroyed country.”

Magma Poetry (82: Obsidian):

Magma 82 celebrates Obsidian, which creates a safe space for Black poets. Editors Nick Mahoka and Gboyega Odubanjo wrote, “In creating a space dedicated to Black poetry, one that neither others nor censors it, we felt it important that writers had a freedom to express themselves that they were too rarely afforded. Rather than try to fit these writers into a box that would always be too small, too awkward, we wanted them to form the obsidian that, together, they are a part of”. We also celebrate the life of Gboyega, an extraordinary poet who constantly encouraged other young poets.

Modern Poetry in Translation (The Great Flight)

Modern Poetry in Translation’s ‘The Great Flight’ issue focusses on refugee poetry — poetry by refugees and about the plight of refugees and migrants. The issue features translations of new work by renowned international poets including Eritrean Ribka Sibhatu and Ethiopian Hama Tuma, plus a new translation of important work by Syrian poet Golan Haji. Poet and translator Don Mee Choi writes about her experiences of migration, Carmen Bugan writes movingly about her father’s failed escape from Communist Romania, and Shash Trevett muses on the murder of language.

New Welsh Reader (Spring 2019)

The Spring 2019 issue of New Welsh Reader is a guest-edited poetry special curated by poet Emily Blewitt, with articles on how nature should be an accessible refuge for disabled writers and poets, and on why writing poetry has been a sanctuary for expressing emotions for a mother’s autistic son. Plus poems about maternity, birth, motherhood, fatherhood and pregnancy loss, all of which explore, at tangents, the ways in which every one of us once sheltered in our mother’s body.

PN Review (267: September — October 2022)

Michael Schmidt, Editor of PN Review, said: “PN Review is itself a place of refuge, where readers find work from different languages and worlds brought together into suggestive dialogue. PNR 267 included some powerful writing, notably Anthony Vahni Capildeo’s first ‘Touch and Mourning’ report, Fawzia Muradali Kane’s 17-part ‘Guaracara’ exploring unsafety, childhood and history, Stav Poleg’s spectacular essay exploration ‘Running Between Languages’ and much else to do with risk and finally with arrival, safety, refuge.”

The Poetry Book Society (Autumn Bulletin 2023)

To celebrate the 2023 National Poetry Day theme of “refuge”, the Poetry Book Society team are sharing their favourite poems, to take refuge in, throughout the day on social media @poetrybooksociety. PBS Team Member Meg has shared this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver as her chosen poem of refuge. You can read more soul-soothing poems by Mary Oliver and an exclusive commentary in the Autumn 2023 Bulletin, plus a new poem by Jacqueline Saphra exploring the long shadow of the holocaust on modern-day conflicts. A timely reminder of how important the theme of refuge is today.  

Poetry Wales (Spring 2022 57:3)

Poetry Wales 57.3 speaks to the theme of ‘Refuge’ on a number of levels. Many of the poems featured are written on the theme of nature (a place of refuge for many of us looking to escape our daily life), and how we as people relate to it. It also features How Being a Girl Poet Saved My Life by Jenny Mitchell, which explores how poetry, and becoming a poet, was an important refuge for her in her teenage years, and In That Year by Kim Moore, a piece about how the author has found solace and comfort in the refuge of using poetry as a medium to talk about intimate partner violence.

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Thank you to all the publishing partners that participated in this National Poetry Day initiative. Access to this wonderful selection of poetry and access will be available until the end of 5th November 2023.

If you have any questions about Exact Editions or our publisher services, please visit the publisher website here or contact us on