Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, October 7, 1999 Published at 02:26 GMT 03:26 UK


Stars tune up for Poetry Day

Andrew Motion chose Bob Dylan as his favourite lyricist

National Poetry Day has been launched with the award of the UK's biggest poetry prize - the first in a series of nationwide events to encourage people to read verse.

The BBC's Madeleine Holt: "The new rock 'n' roll?"
Jo Shapcott, 46, beat four other poets to win the £10,000 Forward Poetry Prize.

Chairman of judges and fellow poet Simon Armitage said: "Jo Shapcott was a clear winner. The judges all felt that she is writing her best work at the moment - witty, sensual and erotic."

[ image: Griff Rhys Jones: Announcing the Nation's Favourite Song Lyric]
Griff Rhys Jones: Announcing the Nation's Favourite Song Lyric
Ms Shapcott, from London, won the prize for her third published poetry collection, My Life Asleep.

Also among the winners was Nick Drake's The Man In The White Suit, for the best first collection. The best single poem was Twenty-Five Laments For Iraq, by Robert Minhinnick.

This year the organisers of National Poetry Day are highlighting the link between poetry and pop songs.

On Friday the celebrations go up-tempo for the results of the Nation's Favourite Song Lyric, to be announced on BBC One by Griff Rhys Jones.

The nationwide poll was organised by the Poetry Society and BBC TV.

Pop pickings

Poet laureate Andrew Motion has already picked Bob Dylan as his favourite lyricist, and will make a broadcast on BBC Radio 4, which has readings throughout Thursday.

Andrew Motion: "Dylan is unquestionably a poet"
Poetry has also gone online with Mr Motion and other poets taking part in a live debate about their favourite pop lyrics on the Poetry Society Website.

Pop stars have returned the compliment by picking their favourite poems for a photo exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

[ image: Pop stars including Marc Almond have chosen their favourite poems]
Pop stars including Marc Almond have chosen their favourite poems
They include Marc Almond, Billy Bragg, Nick Cave, Tom Robinson, Patti Smith and Cornershop's Tjinder Singh.

Other events include a "Poetry Hospital" in Manchester, set up outside the Central Library with live entertainment and giant plaster casts for people to write their poetry on.

Birmingham is set to appoint its own Poet laureate and Bristol is holding its own poetry festival at its Central Library throughout October.

The Scottish Book Trust is distributing 500,000 poetry postcards through Co-op, Tesco, Safeway and Sainsbury's supermarkets.

Bookshops around the country will be staging their own events and many notable poets are taking part.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Entertainment Contents

TV and Radio
New Media

Relevant Stories

14 Sep 99 | UK Politics
Poet Blair addresses TUC

18 May 99 | Entertainment
'We have forgotten how to read poetry'

10 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Top poetry is complete nonsense

Internet Links

Poetry Society

BBC Education National Poetry Day site

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.