Support Us

How You Can Help

Our Purpose & How We Are Funded

Thank you for visiting the Poetry By Heart website and for taking an interest in finding out the various ways in which you can support us.

Participate In The Competition

The first step is to participate in Poetry By Heart, our annual national competition that brings poetry recitation both into the classroom and onto the national stage at our Winner’s Weekends each year.

With schools, colleges, teachers and students participating each year, we’ve been able to demonstrate the joy of learning poetry by heart and the wonderful benefits gained by participating – from students gaining confidence to schools discovering a wonderful platform to promote poetry recitation in the classroom, this is the most interactive way to help support our cause.

Share Your Experiences

We invite all teachers, students and organisers to share their stories with us and tell us all about how you learnt your poems by heart, perfected your performances, and how Poetry By Heart affected your perception of poetry recitation.

Your experiences matter, and are the tangible fruits of the Poetry By Heart initiative. We may feature your comments in blog posts and materials we use in future competitions, and it could be the one story that captures someone’s imagination and introduces Poetry By Heart to someone new.

Send your stories by email to

Volunteer with PBH

If you would like to help the PBH team by volunteering your spare time, simply get in touch with us by email on

Coming Soon: Donate

If you would like to invest in Poetry By Heart, we welcome donations.

Every penny would go toward creating wonderful downloadable teaching materials and videos to help teachers and students alike engage with poetry and poetry recitation.

We are currently in the process of creating an easy to use donation page, however if you would like to express your interest in this, please email Julie Blake, Co-Director and Founder of Poetry By Heart,

Founded by Sir Andrew Motion and Julie Blake in 2012, developed by The Poetry Archive with The Full English, and funded by the Department for Education, Poetry by Heart is a national poetry recitation competition open to all pupils and students in England aged between 14 and 18. It is now in its fifth iteration. Both the competition and the Poetry By Heart website are maintained and developed by The Full English.

Poetry By Heart is a competition but it also a website, which exists to encourage young people of all ages and backgrounds to explore the rich literary heritage of poetry written in English, including poems from the historical past, the recent past, and the contemporary present. Poetry By Heart encourages exploration of preferences by offering poetry collections, or showcases of poems recommended by leading poets from which young people can choose the poets and poems which they find best speak to them.

Poetry By Heart encourages poetry to be read, listened to, performed and embodied, including by movement, memorisation, recitation, and reading out loud. Poetry By Heart also seeks to point young people to other sources of poetry in printed form and on the web, focussing especially on those poems and collections of poetry which are free at the point of use but for which due permissions and copyrights have been obtained. We hope those who come to our site will learn more of the many opportunities for exploring their poetry preferences by visits to online resources such as those provided by The Poetry Foundation, The Poetry Society, The Poetry Archive, the BBC and many others, as well as to sources of poetry collections such as The Poetry Book Society.

Poetry By Heart has been fortunate in attracting funding from the Department for Education since its inception in 2012. It has also received additional gifts from Oxford University Press, which paid for the original Poetry By Heart timeline website. The late poet and publisher Felix Dennis helped fund the development of the Poetry By Heart database by a generous gift to The Poetry Archive. Poetry By Heart has received additional support from UNITAS, a charitable foundation promoting literacy, and from anonymous donors.

Poetry By Heart is now seeking sponsorship and funding to add additional poem and recordings of poets reading poems to its website collections. We have a special focus on developing our recordings of readings, recitations and other performances of the out of copyright poems which feature on our timeline anthology, our collection of Poetry For Children and our collected Shakespeare sonnets. We also wish to develop our capacity for outreach work with students in challenging circumstances including those in hospital education, pupil referral units, and special education.

If you think you may be able to help support us in obtaining extra funding for the Poetry By Heart then please email or write to our Co-founder and Director Julie Blake.

You can also support Poetry By Heart in non-pecuniary ways by telling us about your impressions and experiences of the website and the competitions, by arguing with our anthologies by telling us what you think we are missing, and above all by spreading the word to young people in formal educational settings such as schools colleges, and in their families and communities.