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