1st July 2014
Poetry By Heart team member Mike Dixon reports on the launch of Poetry By Heart 2015 at the NATE conference in Bristol – June 27th to June 29th 2014.
The magnificent Palm Court within the Bristol Marriott Royal hotel was the setting for the launch of Poetry By Heart 2015 on the second day of a superbly organised and stimulating NATE conference in Bristol.
To have an opportunity to talk about the aims of Poetry By Heart with colleagues from so many different parts of the English teaching sector was invaluable and to be able to enjoy entertaining and thought provoking talks by the likes of Michael Rosen, Anthony Wilson and Christopher Edge, to name but three, was a delightful bonus.
The Poetry By Heart team had hoped for a good audience, cunningly staging the launch immediately after a mesmerising reading by poet and Poetry By Heart judge Patience Agbabi of extracts from her new, Chaucer inspired book, “Telling Tales”. And in a belt and braces approach to attracting a sizeable audience we also tempted delegates with the offer of a glass of refreshing, pre-dinner wine. Even so by the 6.30pm start time of the launch we were still overwhelmed to see more than 150 delegates had gathered to hear more about the competition and to enjoy some recitations. Inspirational co-founders and co-directors of Poetry By Heart, Julie Blake and Sir Andrew Motion talked about the ethos behind the project and the way in which more and more schools and colleges of all kinds are embracing the competition. Sir Andrew recited a Hardy poem for the audience and read one of his own hauntingly beautiful recent poems, ‘The Fish in Australia’ which can be seen in the Poetry By Heart online anthology.
Patience Agbabi spoke about her experiences as a judge over the last couple of years and how impressed s