Teenagers to learn Poetry by Heart

Teenagers are to be encouraged to learn poems off by heart for a new schools competition, ministers have announced.

Thousands of 14 to 18-year-olds in England are expected to take part in a new national poetry recitation competition next year, said the Department for Education (DfE).

Students will be asked to memorise and perform a poem from a range selected for the competition.

Among the works are Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold, Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Shakespeare's clown song from Twelfth Night.

The Poetry by Heart competition is being run by the Poetry Archive, with £500,000 of Government funding, said the DfE.

Former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion said: "Poetry by Heart is the best thing that's happened for poetry in schools for a long time: a way for pupils to have serious fun while they extend their reading, deepen their powers of appreciation, and memorise beautiful and intriguing poems which will enrich their lives for ever."

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: "To know a poem by heart is to own a great work of art forever."

Ministers announced plans earlier this year for revamped primary English curriculum which would see children as young as five expected to learn and recite poetry by heart.