The Poet Laureate has accused the government of missing a "golden opportunity" to set aside more school time for creative writing.
Andrew Motion said pupils deserved more educational choice
Andrew Motion spoke of his "bitter disappointment" that curriculum reform plans by former chief schools inspector Sir Mike Tomlinson had been ignored.
These would have provided a "magical opportunity" to encourage poetry in England, he told the Independent.
The government said creativity would be "embedded" in the curriculum.
However, Mr Motion said poetry and creative writing had disappeared "almost entirely" in lessons as children approached their GCSEs, even though the situation was "completely healthy" at primary school level.
Critics of the government have complained that the national curriculum is too narrowly focused on exam results and literacy and numeracy targets.
Mr Motion said: "If a certain amount of time was set aside specifically for creativity then at the very worst young people would have the opportunity to choose whether poetry is for them.
"At the moment, young people do not have that choice."
The Tomlinson report, rejected by ministers earlier this year, advocated replacing separate GCSE and A-level exams with a four-part diploma for 14 to 19-year-olds.
Mr Motion said: "There was almost a magical opportunity for creative time to be written down and described for teachers so that they felt time spent on creativity was officially permitted and that they were not somehow betraying their pupils."
A Department for Education and Skills spokesman said: "We would like to see creativity embedded in both teaching and learning through out the education system.
"All national curriculum subjects provide opportunities to promote pupils' creative and cultural development."