As part of this year’s National Poetry Day on September 28th, 12 poets, including spoken word artist Hollie McNish and Forward Prize-winner Liz Berry, have written specially commissioned poems featuring distinctive local words that have been suggested by listeners to BBC local radio stations.
The Free the Word project takes its cue from National Poetry Day’s 2017 theme – freedom. A partnership between BBC English Regions, National Poetry Day and the Oxford English Dictionary, Free the Word has been searching for unrecorded words used in everyday speech in different locations across the country. The OED advised on the selection of the words which were chosen with help from their experts and the poet themselves. The new words will appear in future online updates of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Each of the poets has a link to the region they are writing for. For the East region Rebecca Watts has written a poem called ‘On the Huh’ which features the words on the huh (meaning lopsided or wonky). The poem will be featured as part of BBC Radio Suffolk’s coverage of National Poetry Day.