Poetry Season

Local Navigation

Local Navigation

What's on TV & Radio

What's on TV

My Life in Verse: Robert Webb

Thurs 8 Oct 2009 23:50 BBC Two (England, Scotland and Wales only)

Comedian Robert Webb goes on a journey to find out more about TS Eliot's The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock. Rpt.
Watch on BBC iPlayer
Watch more Celebrity Choices

Arena: TS Eliot

Thurs 8 Oct 2009 22:25 BBC Four

Arena presents a profile of TS Eliot which, with unprecedented co-operation from the Eliot Estate, tells the story of one of the 20th century's most celebrated and elusive writers. Rpt.
Watch on BBC iPlayer
More about TS Eliot

Owen Shears: A Poet's Guide to Britain

Thurs 1 Oct 2009 19:30 BBC Four

Poet and author Owen Sheers continues to track great works of poetry through the British landscape. In the second episode he traces the steps of Sylvia Plath. Rpt.
Broadcast details
Watch the last episode on BBC iPlayer
More about Sylvia Plath
More about William Wordsworth

Full details of the other programmes that featured in the season

Ian Hislop's Changing of the Bard

Sat 16 May 2009 22:00 BBC Four

Ian Hislop welcomes the new Poet Laureate of 2009 Carol Ann Duffy with a history of arguably one of the oldest and oddest offices in the British establishment.
Broadcast details
More about Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy: Secular Prayers

Sat 16 May 2009 23:00 BBC Four

An archive anthology of the work of Carol Ann Duffy, Britain's first ever woman Poet Laureate, read by the poet herself from the last 20 years.
Broadcast details
More about Carol Ann Duffy

Poetry Please: Thirty Years of the People's Poetry

Sun 17 May 2009 21:30 BBC Four

BBC Four pays tribute to the world's longest-running poetry programme on its 30th anniversary.
Broadcast details and watch a behind-the-scenes clip
More about Roger McGough

Why Poetry Matters

Wed 20 May 2009 21:00 BBC Two

Join Griff Rhys Jones on a personal journey to find out why we should care about poetry.
Broadcast details
Watch our guides to writing, enjoying and performing poetry

Off By Heart

Fri 22 May 2009 21:00 BBC One (except Scotland)

Documentary following school children preparing for a national poetry recital competition.
Broadcast deatils
More about Benjamin Zephaniah
Watch our guides to writing, enjoying and performing poetry

Simon Schama's John Donne

Tues 26 May 2009 21:00 BBC Two

Simon Schama celebrates the life and work of Britain's greatest love poet, John Donne.
Broadcast details
Watch a clip

Armando Iannucci in Milton's Heaven and Hell

Wed 27 May 2009 21:00 BBC Two

Armando Iannucci explores his passion for John Milton - a poet whose preoccupation with ideas of sin, liberty and the fall of man, may seem out of step with 21st century Britain but, as Iannucci reveals, has never been more relevant.
Broadcast details
Watch clips

Michael Wood on Beowulf

Thurs 28 May 2009 21:00 BBC Four

Historian Michael Wood reveals the origins of our literary heritage. Focusing on Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon classics, he traces the birth of English poetry back to the Dark Ages.
Broadcast details

My Life in Verse: Sheila Hancock

Fri 29 May 2009 21:00 BBC Two

Actress Sheila Hancock explores how her love for poetry has become a lifeline since the death of her husband John Thaw in 2002.
Broadcast details
Watch more Celebrity Choices

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Thurs 4 Jun 2009 21:00 BBC Four

Simon Armitage goes on the trail of the mythical Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Broadcast details
Watch Armitage's Gawain poem uncut

My Life in Verse: Cerys Matthews

Fri 12 Jun 2009 21:00 BBC Two

Cerys Matthews goes on a journey of Celtic discovery to trace the evolving role of the poet in society from the earliest Welsh bards.
Broadcast details
Watch more Celebrity Choices

The Book Quiz: Poetry Special

Fri 12 Jun 2009 22:00 BBC Four

Kirsty Wark presents a special edition of the literary panel game. Guests include former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, poet Brian Patten, actress Alice Eve and comedian Natalie Haynes.
Broadcast details
Watch our guides to writing, enjoying and performing poetry

My Life in Verse: Malorie Blackman

Fri 19 Jun 2009 21:00 BBC Two

Children's author Malorie Blackman finds out more about the poems and poets - dead and alive - who have inspired her, from William Blake and Benjamin Zephaniah to Jackie Kay.
Broadcast details
Watch more Celebrity Choices

What's on Radio

Poetry Please

Sundays 16:30-17:00 2009 BBC Radio 4

The BBC's hugely popular poetry request show, presented by Roger McGough. Including
two 30th anniversary specials on Sun 11 October and Sun 18 October.

Listen to the latest edition on BBC iPlayer
More about Roger McGough

Poetry Slam

Thurs 8 Oct 2009 23:00 BBC Radio 4

Radio 4 marks National Poetry Day by broadcasting the finals of the 2009 BBC Radio 4 Poetry Slam competition, held at the Birmingham Conservatoire and hosted by Dreadlock Alien.

Listen again on BBC iPlayer
Radio 4 website
Watch Dreadlock Alien's guide to performing poems in public

Poetry on Radio 7: Jubilee Poetry

Thurs 8 Oct 2009 from 10:00 BBC Radio 7

Radio 7 presents of day of classic poetry recordings in honour of National Poetry Day, starting with a gala evening of verse by Britain's Poets Laureate from 2002. Hosted by Andrew Motion and with readings by Juliet Stevenson and Samuel West.

Broadcast details
National Poetry Day on BBC Radio 7

Great Lives: Tennyson

Fri 7 Aug 2009 23:00 BBC Radio 4

Radio 4's short Tennyson season continues with former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion championing Alfred, Lord Tennyson under the stewardship of presenter Matthew Parris.

Listen again on BBC iPlayer
Radio 4 website
More about Tennyson

Poems for Today

From Thurs 21 May 2009 BBC Radio 3

Radio 3 broadcasts 41 poems in Breakfast, one a day for six weeks.

Listen again to all 41 poems
Radio 3 Poetry Season programme guide

Under the Influence

Friday 22 May 2009 23:00 BBC Radio 3

Poet Fred D'Aguiar explores the work of the poets who have influenced him most.

Broadcast details

Radio 3 Poetry Season programme guide

Sunday Feature - Children of the Whitsun Weddings

Sun 23 May 2009 21:30 BBC Radio 3

Poets Kate Clanchy and Paul Farley take a train through 'Larkinland', as they explore their mutual admiration for Philip Larkin's work.
More about Philip Larkin
Broadcast details
Radio 3 Poetry Season programme guide

Ode to Whitman

Sat 30 May 2009 12:15 BBC Radio 3

Rob Cowan explores the attraction of composers to the poetry of Walt Whitman.

Broadcast details

Radio 3 Poetry Season programme guide

South of My Days

Sun 28 Jun 2009 16:30 BBC Radio 4

Greta Scacchi presents a portrait of the extraordinary Australian poetess Judith Wright (1915-2000) whose work broke new ground in exploring the Australian relationship with the environment and its native people.
Broadcast details
Radio 4 website

The Verb

Friday 10 Jul 21:15 2009 BBC Radio 3

Last in the present series of Ian McMillan's weekly look at language.

The Verb website
Watch Ian McMillan's guide to performing poetry

Walking With Whitman

Sat 11 Jul 2009 23:30 BBC Radio 4

Stuart Maconie meets devotees of Walt Whitman in Bolton and explores the history of the town's unlikely yet enduring relationship with the American poet.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer
Radio 4 website

Macavity's Not There: TS Eliot in the 21st Century

Tues 21 Jul 2009 11:30 BBC Radio 4

As a major project begins to edit the works of TS Eliot, author and critic Michael Alexander explores the place of the poet in national culture.

Broadcast details
More about TS Eliot

Classic Serial: Tennyson's Maud

Sun 26 Jul 2009 13:00 BBC Radio 4

Joseph Millson reads Alfred, Lord Tennyson's dark and lyrical poem Maud to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the poet's birth.

Broadcast details
More about Tennyson

Afternoon Reading: Blake's Doors of Perception

Sun 26 Jul 2009 19:45 BBC Radio 4

Short stories marking the 250th anniversary of William Blake's birth, each inspired by a quote from the great poet. Rpt.

Broadcast details
Radio 4 website

BBC Proms 2009: Proms Literary Festival - Tennyson

Sun 2 Aug 2009 20:20 BBC Radio 3

Former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion introduces a personal choice of poems by another poet Laureate, Alfred Tennyson, performed by actress Fiona Shaw.

Broadcast details
BBC Proms Literary Festival
More about Tennyson

Sunday Feature: Searching for Alfred in the Shadow of Tennyson

Sun 2 Aug 2009 21:45 BBC Radio 4

Poet Ruth Padel goes in search of the real Tennyson, exploring ways in which his legacy is felt today - in music, poetry and fiction

Broadcast details
Radio 4 website
More about Tennyson

Words and Music: To Strive, to Seek, to Find and Not to Yield

Sun 9 Aug 2009 22:45 BBC Radio 3

Beth Goddard and Michael Pennington read a selection of poetry from Alfred, Lord Tennyson and others on the theme of destiny.

Broadcast details
Words and Music website

Drama on 3: Crossing the Bar

Sat 29 Aug 2009 21:15 BBC Radio 3

A dramatisation of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's most popular sea narratives, including Enoch Arden and Crossing the Bar, sung by a cappella trio Coope, Boyes and Simpson.

Broadcast details
More about Tennyson

In Search of the Wantley Dragon

Sun 30 Aug 2009 16:30 BBC Radio 4

Ian McMillan explores the bawdy 17th century comic poem The Dragon of Wantley.

Broadcast details
Watch Ian McMillan's guide to performing poetry

The poems featured in the TV and Radio trailers for the season are:

  • Frank Skinner with Where Are the Waters of My Childhood? by Mark Strand
  • Phill Jupitus with A Jar of Honey by Jacob Polley
  • Lauren Laverne with On Leaving Some Friends at an Early Hour by John Keats
  • Hugh Dennis with This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams
  • Robert Webb with Love Song also by William Carlos Williams.


  • The poems featured in the press adverts are:

  • Forgetfulness by Harold Hart Crane
  • God's Gradeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • The Second Coming by WB Yeats


  • All reproduced with permission

    Ian McMillan

    Discover

    Watch Ian McMillan's tips on writing poems for special occasions

    Patrick Neate

    Spoken Word

    Patrick Neate has the lowdown on the UK live poetry circuit

    Related Links

    Poetry Pie logo

    CBeebies: Poetry Pie

    Pre-school fun in a magical world of poetry.

    BBC Blast logo

    BBC Blast

    Tips and advice for budding slam poets and writers.

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

    BBC navigation

    BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

    This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.