Talented Eastbourne Academy students are entering a pioneering national competition designed to encourage pupils at school and college in England to learn and to recite poems by heart.
Poetry By Heart was launched in January and already over 650 schools and colleges up and down the country have entered.
The competition is supported by a website at www.poetrybyheart.org.uk
In addition to information about the competition the website contains the competition anthology of 130 poems.
Mike Dixon, a former Head of Park College in Eastbourne and a member of the competition development team, wrote the majority of the commentaries on the poems and poets on the website.
He explains, “Competitors need to choose one poem from before 1914 and one poem from after 1914.
“We hope that in reading, preparing and reciting, young people will gain much enjoyment and confidence.
“School competitions lead to county finals and then a grand final over two days in London in April.
“The spirit of the competition is that we want students to take poems to heart not simply learn them by rote and we have been thrilled by the response to the initiative.”
The former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion who set up the Poetry Archive is the drivin force behind the idea.
Students at Eastbourne Academy are browsing the anthology deciding which two poems they will take to heart under the guidance of English teachers, Svetlana Mitchell and Pam Knapp who said, “At the Eastbourne Academy writing, reading and studying poetry is recognised as the privilege of sharing some of the deepest and most profound discoveries about ourselves and the world we live in.
“It is an exciting prospect for our students to be able share that privilege with an ever wider audience via this great competition.”
School competitions need to be completed by March 15 and so there is still time for schools to enter by going to www.poetrybyheart.org.uk