My Life in Verse

My Life in Verse

A Journey through Poetry


For 2009, the BBC is planning a major 'Poetry Season' on BBC2 and BBC4. This landmark series on British Poetry will be the centrepiece of the season, and Penguin Classics is publishing the official anthology to tie-in with it. The anthology will include all the poems read or mentioned in the series as well as a large number of others selected to complement them. It should prove to be a hugely successful way of bringing the best of British poetry to a wide audience.

The TV series is from the people who brought you Who Do You Think You Are and will consist of 4x60 minute episodes following a celebrity presenter on his or her life-journey through poetry. Each episode will focus on a theme that has inspired some of the great poetry of the past, and continues to do so, such as love and death, war and nationhood, nature and religion. The celebrities will be passionate and articulate about the way poetry has changed and enhanced their lives through all its various stages.

Among them are poems chosen by actress Sheila Hancock exploring human relationships and the loss of a loved one, from Yeats and Tennyson to Blake and Larkin. Comic Robert Webb has selected the modern verse that inspired him, including the love sonnets of E. E. Cummings and the wordplay of Don Paterson. Musician Cerys Matthews celebrates the rich verse of Wales, Ireland and Scotland [poets], and writer Malorie Blackman chooses the [rich variety of] poetry that spoke to her, from Psalm 23 to Roald Dahl to Benjamin Zephaniah.

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