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Seamus Heaney: Poetry was entrancing

30 January 2013 Last updated at 07:54 GMT

Writers Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage have been speaking to the BBC about their love of poetry.

In an interview with the Today programme's James Naughtie, Seamus Heaney remembered how he felt when he first discovered poetry.

"It was the voltage of the language, it was entrancing," he said.

Author Simon Armitage added: "I knew I wanted to exist in a world of poetry, but I didn't want to write it [to begin with], I just wanted to read it.

"All I knew was that it felt like a marginal activity, and that it was the place I felt I could be strong and happy, in those margins."

With regard to teaching poetry in schools, Armitage said: "Learning poetry is a good idea as long as it doesn't turn into elocution lessons. It's about giving students poems which excite them, and don't embarrass or humiliate them because they can't find a way into the language."