Oxford University Press announces partnership with Poetry by Heart

Oxford University Press announced today that it is partnering with The Poetry Archive to support Poetry by Heart, a new national poetry competition in England which will see thousands of students aged 14 to 18 competing this spring to become national champion for their skill in memorising and reciting poems by heart.

Oxford University Press will provide free content from the Oxford English Dictionary Online, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and the American National Biography Online to support students participating in the competition. The poems on the Poetry by Heart website http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/include a number of links to OUP resources, encouraging students to explore in greater depth the language of the poems, and the lives of the poets who wrote them. Students can discover biographies of the poets using the Oxford DNB and ANB Online, and the OED entries help to explain the meaning and illustrate the usage of some of the older or more difficult words used in the selected poems.

Judy Pearsall, Editorial Director for Dictionaries at Oxford University Press said: “We’re delighted to partner with Poetry by Heart, whose mission to promote a creative understanding of poetry resonates with our own mission of furthering education and disseminating knowledge. We hope that students will find the additional Oxford resources helpful as they prepare for the competition.”

Former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion is co-founder of the Poetry by Heart initiative. He said: “Poetry by Heart is delighted to form a partnership with OUP, which adds enormously to the pleasure and interest of our website. Participants in the competition now have the opportunity to explore the roots and branches of the words in poems they are learning, as well as the intricacies of the poets’ lives – so they can keep their feet on the ground and fly at the same time.”

Poetry by Heart is an educational initiative of The Poetry Archive, and is supported by the Department for Education.  School championships will be taking place in March 2013, with county contests following shortly after.  The national grand final will be held at the National Portrait Gallery in April 2013. One year’s free access to the OED and ODNB will be awarded to the winning school, and a national winner’s trophy will be presented to the most outstanding young competitor.

Notes

What is the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)?

The Oxford English Dictionary is the world’s most comprehensive dictionary of the English language. It covers words from across the English-speaking world, and traces the development of English from the earliest records to the present day.

It’s an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over 600,000 words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 3 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature to film scripts and cookery books.

Find out more about the OED

What is the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford DNB)?

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of more than 58,500 individuals who have shaped British history and culture, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century.

The Oxford DNB tells the story of Britain’s past through the lives of men and women active in all walks of national life. The Dictionary offers concise, up-to-date biographies—written by named, specialist authors—which chart individuals’ work, personal lives, reputation, and legacy. With more than 11,000 portrait illustrations, the Oxford DNB is also the largest published collection of British portraiture.

What is the American National Biography Online?

The American National Biography offers accounts of more than 18,700 men and women whose lives have shaped the history of the United States, and the wider world: from the Founding Fathers of the revolutionary era to the space pioneers of the late-20th century.

Public library access

Nearly all public libraries in England, Scotland, and Wales – and all in Northern Ireland – subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary Online and Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. This means the public can access the resources, for free, via their local library. Visit this page to find out more.

Most libraries also offer remote access. Local library members can access the online resources free at any time and from anywhere with internet access. Users should enter their library membership number (on library cards) in the box provided on each site. Watch this video to find out how.

About Poetry by Heart

Poetry by Heart is an educational initiative of The Poetry Archive. The Poetry Archive is the world’s premier online collection of recordings of poets reading their own work.

The full anthology of set poems is available at www.poetrybyheart.org.uk. The website also contains competition information for schools, material about poems and performances, and teaching resources, as well as access to the OUP resources listed above.

In this first year of the competition, entry is open to schools and colleges in England only. To register, schools should email info@poetrybyheart.org.uk or telephone 0117 905 5338.

Sir Andrew Motion was UK poet laureate 1999-2009, and is co-founder and co-director of the Poetry Archive:  www.poetryarchive.org.uk.