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Why is poetry necessary?

“Poetry reaches with its sounds and rhymes down below the realm of the conscious mind to awaken and nourish the imagination. Poetry at its best calls forth our deep being. It is a magical art and always has been, a making of language spells designed to open our eyes, open doors, welcome us into a bigger world, one of possibilities we may never have dared to dream of.” Roger Housden, Huffington Post


“Poetry is a powerful instructional tool and an important art to study at any age. Poetry is a way to understand how language and symbol systems work. It is a worthy expression of emotion, or deep feelings, and aesthetics, or a sense of what is beautiful about the world.”


“We need poetry. Poetry promotes literacy, builds community, and fosters emotional resilience.” Edutopia


Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Betjeman judge in 2016, says: “Children are naturally drawn to poetry: they possess a freshness of seeing and feeling and an instinct for the truth of words that we often lose as we get older.”

How you can help


The Betjeman Poetry Prize promotes literacy, fosters creativity and provides a platform for young poets. In 2017, through poet visits, poetry camps, teaching resources, the annual competition and prize giving performance, we reached 5000 children and young people across the British Isles directly. Worldwide, 11,593 young people visited our website and downloaded resources, posters and previous winners’ poems. Read BPP 2017 finalists’ poems here.


The Betjeman Poetry Prize is an independent charity which relies on support and donations from trusts, arts organisations and individuals. The more money we raise the more outreach work we can do!

Your donation could change someone’s life! Even the smallest donations can add up to big things. It costs us:

£400 - to send a poet into a school

£700 - to create a place on a poetry camp for a young person aged 10-13

£650 - to print 50 young people’s poems each year in our anthology

£150 - to commission a video teaching resource

£250 - to sponsor an emerging poet to deliver a workshop 


Click here to donate

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