You can use most of our website without any need to register. All the poem selections and ways of interacting with those are freely available, the resources in the Learning Zone, and lots of information about the Poetry By Heart competition including the competition guides. But if you want to take part in the Poetry By Heart competition or use the Teaching Zone resources, you'll need to register. This is because we need to know who you are and how we can talk to you, and where to send your competition resource pack if you are eligible to take part in the competition.
Registration takes a minute or two. We only collect the information we need to run the competition and we will not give it to anyone else without your express permission.
Find out how to participate
Poetry By Heart is a national competition in which young people in key stages 2, 3, 4 and 5 choose poems they love, learn them by heart and perform them in a school or college competition.
Lots of films include a character reciting a poem by heart. Some are about a poet’s life, for example Bright Star about John Keats or A Quiet Passion about Emily Dickinson. Other films have nothing to do with poetry but a character speaks lines from a poem as part of the story. We’ve rounded up three examples for you here:
Morgan Freeman reciting W.E. Henley’s poem ‘Invictus’ in character as Nelson Mandela in the film about the South African rugby team, Invictus
Robert Redford reciting S.T. Coleridge’s poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ as Dennis Finch-Hatton in the film about writer Isak Dinesen’s life, Out of Africa
Judi Dench reciting Alfred Tennyson’s poem ‘Ulysses’ as M in the James Bond film, Skyfall
Below you’ll find videos of students reciting two of these poems, plus links to the poem texts and the movie clips. What are the poems doing in each of these films? How many other examples of poetry in the movies can you find? Why do you think lines or verses of poems are used so often in films?