1. Find a poem you love
Go to www.poetrybyheart.org.uk. Explore one or more of the collections of poems and find a poem you love, or, like a new friend, one you quite like and want to get to know better.
The Poetry Mix-It-Up. Hover over some tiles and let the lines draw you in. Click on the mix-it-up and see what else you can find.
The First World War Showcase. Poems written at the time and poems looking back to it, from people who experienced it from in different countries, languages and perspectives.
The Shakespeare Sonnets Showcase. Fourteen lines, dressed to impress.
The Romantic Poetry Showcase. For GCSE and A Level students, mostly.
2. Learn it by heart
There’s no short cut to this. Like getting to know a new friend, you have to make time to do things together. Read your poem aloud to other people, illustrate it, write out the lines and stick them on the fridge door. Remember its sections as if they are scenes in a slow-motion movie or rooms in a house. Repeat the lines while you’re walking the dog. Recite it to the dog or in the shower or in front of a mirror. Give someone else the poem and get them to test you.
3. Share it aloud
Once you know the words, think about how you want to say them. When starting to recite poetry, everyone goes too quickly – slow right down! And get your audience ready to listen – count to 10 before you start. Keep it much slower than your usual speech – let your listeners savour every word. Don’t be tempted to add lots of extra emotion or actions – everything you need is right there in the words. Think about the ending – you want to keep your listeners hanging on the last word for one more second, thinking about what they’ve heard before they all start clapping. Recite it in school, in the park or at home. Get someone you know to learn a poem too and perform your poems to each other. Make a video and share it.
Get your parents to email a vidoe to me and I will publish it on our Youtube Channel for others to enjoy
And if you enjoy that, you can enter the Poetry By Heart competition
In the autumn, we’ll begin our search to find England’s best poetry reciters in key stages 2,3,4 and 5. It could be you! Enter your school or college Poetry By Heart competition and you’re the first step on your way to the national finals, judged by top poets. Learn two poems from the Poetry By Heart website www.poetrybyheart.org.uk, one published before 1914 and one published in 1914 or after, and get ready to recite