The Poetry and Memory Survey

Our nationwide Poetry and Memory survey launched on 2nd October –  National Poetry Day.

We want to find out what poetry lives in the nation’s collective memory, and what these poems mean to the individuals who know them.

What poem do YOU know by heart?

Take part

If you know a poem by heart, then do take part in our survey.

The poem can be any that you would be able to say from memory. It doesn't matter if you have forgotten a few of the words – as long as you can remember most of it. It can be any type of poem, but not song lyrics or a nursery rhyme.

We just ask that you:

  • are aged eighteen years or over
  • are resident in the UK
  • have at least one poem that you know by heart

The time required to complete this survey depends on how long you spend telling us about your poem – and you can spend as much or as little time as you like. As a rough guide, the average time spent on the whole survey is 25 minutes.

You can read more about the survey, why we're doing it, and other ways you can get involved on our blog.

A separate survey open to anyone from the UK but currently living abroad is available here.

Print version

We appreciate that there may be people interested in doing our survey who are unable to use the online survey tool. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to this problem. However, for those who have friends or relatives able to access this site, we have provided a PDF version of the survey which can be printed out, filled in, and posted to us using the Freepost address on the label provided.

National Poetry Day

We are very pleased to be working with the Forward Arts Foundation which runs National Poetry Day, and are grateful for their help in spreading the word. This year, National Poetry Day is taking the theme 'Remember', with events and activities focusing on sharing remembered poems. You can find out about National Poetry Day events and the 'Think of a Poem' campaign here.



Live from the survey

What poem do you know?

'Journey of the Magi' by T S Eliot

Your thoughts and feelings?

I learnt it when I was living abroad and felt like I wanted a bit of portable culture. Because Eliot has so many references to other poems, it’s like having a whole library of poetry.


Listen to some more personal reflections on poetry by heart

Clare Gardom, Teacher –

Dave Williams, Comedian –
'The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock'

Madeleine O'Callaghan, Educator – 'The Song of the Wandering Aengus'

Malcolm Guite, Poet and Priest – 'The Golden City of St Mary'

Which poem do you know by heart? And what does it mean for you?