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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 18:25 GMT
BBC searches for national poem
Damian Lewis
Damien Lewis will recite a poem as part of Essential Poetry
The BBC is launching a search for a poem for the nation in the spirit of the classic hymn Jerusalem.

The BBCi online competition ends on 31 May, after which a panel of judges - including eminent poets - will select a shortlist for National Poetry Day on 9 October.

Actors will perform the judges' favourite poems on the day itself, after which the winner will be announced.

Ioan Gruffudd
Ioan Gruffudd is involved in the BBC's poetry push

Members of the public can enter by post or email via a dedicated BBC website.

"We want a poem for Britain," said Daisy Goodwin, the host of BBC Two's Essential Poems, a five-part series which begins on Friday.

"We're looking for a poem of our times, one that might be set to music and sung at weddings, on football terraces or in school assembly."

"Great poetry is furniture for the mind," she added.

"Become familiar with the right poems and you change the way you think for ever."

Celebrities

BBC Two is broadcasting a show called Essential Poems (To Fall In Love With) on Friday evening.

Filmed in the style of a mini-drama set in a contemporary location, it features poems being recited by more than 35 actors and celebrities.

Alison Steadman, Christopher Lee, Amanda Holden and Prunella Scales are included in the line-up.

The first programme of the series will see Damian Lewis consider the joys of flirting in Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress and Ioan Gruffudd recite First Love by John Clare.

See also:

05 Dec 02 | Entertainment
10 Oct 02 | Entertainment
10 Oct 02 | Entertainment
10 Oct 02 | England
10 Oct 02 | Scotland
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