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Wednesday, 3 October, 2001, 23:57 GMT 00:57 UK
McCartney gets lyrical for poetry day
Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul's talents include music, art and poetry
Sir Paul McCartney is heading a poetry olympics marathon to mark National Poetry Day.

Appearing alongside him at London's Queens Theatre will be Adrian Mitchell, Inge Elsa Laird, Lemn Sissay and Tom Pickard, as well as jazz musicians Ruth Vaughn and Keith Waithe.

Sir Paul, who recently published a book of his poems, has also appeared at other poetry events including the Hay-on-Wye Literature Festival.

Top 10 children's poems
1. The Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear
2. Matilda by Hilaire Belloc
3. Don't by Michael Rosen
4. Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
5. On the Ning Nang Nong by Spike Milligan
6. Talking Turkeys!! by Benjamin Zephaniah
7. Macavity, The Mystery Cat by T.S. Eliot
8. The King's Breakfast by A.A. Milne
9. Please Mrs Butler by Allan Ahlberg
10. Down Vith the Children! Do Them In! by Roald Dahl

Other events across the country include a launch of poem-bearing balloons at the Royal Festival Hall at 1000 BST.

National Poetry Day, the theme of which this year is journeys, also sees the publication of a special 10th anniversary edition of The Forward Book of Poetry, Poems of the Decade.

The Forward Prizes 2001, the UK's premier poetry awards, were announced on Wednesday, with Sean O'Brien winning the main award for his collection of pastoral poems, Downriver.

The nation's favourite children's poem was also revealed on Wednesday, on BBC One, as The Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear, beating classics like Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" and AA Milne's "The King's Breakfast".

The show was presented by Zoe Ball, with special appearances by Harry Enfield, Patsy Palmer, the cast of EastEnders, Carol Smillie and Steps.


BBC Radio 4 will also celebrate National Poetry Day with specially commissioned poems throughout the day on the theme of journeys, including readings by Edwin Morgan, Pascale Petit and Lavinia Greenlaw.

Andrew Motion
Andrew Motion has written a new poem for the occasion

Many of the poems will be recorded as the poets travel - on tube, bus, even on horseback.

Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has written a new poem which will be broadcast as part of Thought for the Day on the Today programme.

He will be taking part in a live webchat on BBC Radio 4's website at 1545 BST.

And BBC Radio 3 is putting a sonnet online after listeners spent a week compiling the collaborative poem via email, text messages, fax and on the web.

It will appear on In Tune on 4 October.

Manchester's poetry festival will also be launched on the same day, attended by the city's lord mayor, Fiona Bowker, Kim Taylor and Pat Winslow.

In Scotland, eight specially commissioned poetry postcards will be distributed via libraries, bookshops, trains, post offices, arts centres and supermarkets.

All the poems are based on this year's theme of journeys and have been selected from previously unpublished poems by writers registered with the Writers in Scotland scheme.

Poetry Day
What is your favourite poem?
See also:

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Diving, by Andrew Motion
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Pop becomes poetry
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McCartney turns poet
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Big Break Diaries: The poet
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Stars tune up for Poetry Day
10 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Top poetry is complete nonsense
18 May 99 | Entertainment
'We have forgotten how to read poetry'
08 Oct 98 | Education
School for winning poets
30 Sep 00 | Education
'Poetry please' say medics
19 Jul 00 | UK
Motion's poetic mission
21 Mar 01 | Arts
Poetic McCartney takes a bow
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