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22 May 2013
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Bogland by Seamus Heaney
An early nature poem about digging into Ireland's soft wet earth and into her past.
After Reading a Child's Guide to Modern Physics
A witty examination of our passion for scientific knowledge.
Love in the Lab by Jo Shapcott
A poem which has 'a way of turning physics into the physical'.
Talking Turkeys by Benjamin Zephaniah
The Rasta poet says liberate turkeys from the tyranny of Christmas!
On the Booze by John Hegley
John Hegley details his father's brief flirtation with alcohol.
Listen to more of
John Hegley's poems
The Cats' Protection League by Roger McGough
Cats get nasty in this poem loved by both children and adults.
Diary of a Church Mouse by Sir John Betjeman
Life in an English church, as seen from an unusual angle.
You and Me and P.B. Shelley by Ogden Nash
The poet of entertainment contemplates life and PB Shelley.
Homecoming: Anse La Raye by Derek Walcott
A Caribbean homecoming full of memory and contrast.
A March Calf by Ted Hughes
The acclaimed Poet Laureate creates intense imagery on the savagery of nature and the animal world.
The Mitchells by Les Murray
A poem on the values and practices of rural Australia.
Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath
A disturbing monologue on death, rebirth and survival, written four months before the poet's suicide.
Miss World by Benjamin Zephaniah
The Rasta poet has a word or two about beauty contests.
The Charge of the Light Brigade by Lord Tennyson
Inspired by The Times' account of a Crimean fiasco. Recorded in 1890.
Not Waving but Drowning by Stevie Smith
Based on a newspaper article about a seaside misunderstanding.
You May Turn Over and Begin by Simon Armitage
Memories of school exams and the age of consent.
Men and Their Boring Arguments...by Wendy Cope
Gender differences exposed with humour and a sharp knife.
Into My Mirror Has Walked by Brian Patten
A magical and mysterious love poem from a master of the genre.
The Most Unforgettable Character...by Roger McGough
One of his adult poems, full of tips for prospective poets.
Bessie Smith in Yorkshire by Adrian Mitchell
A surreal fan letter to the Empress of the Blues.
For audio interviews with famous poets, have a listen to
BBC Four Audio Interviews
Take a look at poems commissioned by the
BBC World Service
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