2016 UPDATE

It's been a long time since the last blog post. This is because I've been up to my ears in survey data, and also travelling round the country interviewing some of our survey participants. If the survey data is interesting, the interviews have been utterly compelling. I have listened to wonderful stories of how poetry comes into a life and how a poem may travel through a life, carried within the heart. As with the survey data, the most striking thing is the sheer variety of experience. People relate to poems in such different ways. We are still working with our data, and trying to tease out what it all means.

In the meanwhile, public interest in memorised poetry continues. At the Hay Festival recently, Salman Rushdie described it as a “lost art” that “enriches your relationship with language”. Picking up on the remark, the Guardian reporter, wrote, somewhat unfortunately, about rote learning. But she did ask us if we agreed. Read more…