Tower Poetry is committed to inspiring young people to engage with, and enjoy, poetry in all its forms. To achieve this, a range of resources and opportunities are offered by Tower Poetry to help make poetry accessible to all.
The annual Tower Poetry competition is the most generous of its kind, offering a total of £5000 in prize money each year to six young poets and a further £150 per winning school. Hundreds of aspiring poets from across the UK enter each year, writing up to 48 lines on the set theme.
Following the temporary closure of British schools owing to COVID-19, Professor Peter McDonald produced a short series of Tower Poetry talks on particular poems that are often studied at A-Level. These resources are freely available on Tower Poetry's YouTube channel.
Tower Poetry's biennial summer schools offer 18-23 year olds the opportunity to deepen their understanding of poetry, network with other young poets, and develop their own poetic voice with support from established, professional poets. Applicants to the residential summer school are accepted on the basis of their written work; tuition and accommodation costs are funded by Tower Poetry.
Access & Outreach Initiatives - Christ Church
Tower Poetry supports the Horizons Programme run by Christ Church's Admissions & Access team, which is targeted at state schools and colleges in Christ Church's London link area, Barnet. In 2019, over 70 students participated in a series of poetry workshops which encouraged them to think about what poetry is and what poetry means to them. The sessions were designed to challenge existing conceptions about poetry, and to help students explore poetry's relevance in the modern world.
Recently, the Tower Poetry Administrator participated in the Christ Church Tuesday Tasters programme, discussing early medieval poetry with students from non-selective state schools in Christ Church's link areas. The academic tasters enable students to engage with material beyond the educational curriculum; the session on poetry also helped to foster a deeper appreciation of poetry and literature.
The list below suggests a few starting points for young people and teachers to discover more about poetry.
Arts Festival sites
FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival
Held annually in spring, there are children and schools events as well as creative writing programmes.
Annual music festival with growing poetry events held in Suffolk.
Ledbury Poetry Festival
Annual ten-day poetry festival held in July in Herefordshire.
The Poetry Trust
Delivers from Suffolk a year-round live and digital programme, creative education opportunities, courses, prizes and publications.
Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award
Poetry prize organised by the Poetry Society for writers aged 11-17.
Poetry by Heart
A free national poetry recitation competition for 7-18 year olds at school in England, with a website of poetry collections and useful resources for students and teachers.
Have You Read?
Tower Poetry celebrates poetry; and celebrating poetry means celebrating diversity. Poetic tradition is enormous, and capacious: it is a standing rebuke to the injustices and prejudices of the world. We've put together a short introductory selection of links to the lives and work of important poets who were or are people of colour, and we share them here, to show something of the resistant strength of poetry in the world. Happy discoveries!
- Audre Lorde
- Ben Okri
- Benjamin Zephaniah
- Danez Smith
- Deanna Rodger
- Derek Walcott
- Erica Hunt
- Grace Nichols
- Gwendolyn Brooks
- James Baldwin
- James Berry
- Jay Bernard
- Jericho Brown
- John Agard
- June Jordan
- Karisma Price
- Kiki Petrosino
- Langston Hughes
- Lucille Clifton
- Maya Angelou
- Nikky Finney
- Porsha Olayiwola
- Raymond Antrobus
- Rita Dove
- Valerie Bloom
The Gallery Press
Publishes poetry, drama and prose by some of Ireland’s leading contemporary writers.
A publication celebrating Black writers, featuring poetry and short stories.
Published twice a year, Oxford Poetry is the oldest poetry magazine in the world.
The Poetry Kit
A comprehensive online resource for poets including listings of competitions, courses and events.
Resources for Poets
Centre for Literacy - Advice for Young Poets
Interviews from renowned poets and writers aimed at aspiring young poets.
The Guardian Poetry Workshop
Each month a different poet sets a writing exercise and chooses their favourite responses.
Sit Down and Write
Tips for budding poets.
Young Poets Network
The Poetry Society’s online platform for young poets up to the age of 25.
Resources for Teachers
Find pages written by the British Library’s experts on poetry.
National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE)
Supports the development of creative writing of all genres and in all educational and community settings throughout the UK.
National Poetry Library
Housing the Arts Council Collection at South Bank Centre, London.
The Poetry Archive is the world’s premier online collection of recordings of poets reading their work.
Poetry Book Society
Founded by T S Eliot in 1953, the PBS provides information, advice, and discounts on poetry books.
A collection of learning resources from The Poetry Society.
An English teaching online site with almost 12,000 resources.
Oxford's Poetry Scene
Christ Church, University of Oxford
Home of Tower Poetry.
A small but prestigious poetry press sponsored, in part, by Tower Poetry.
University of Oxford
Find poetry debates and the Professor of Poetry’s public lectures each term on the university's site.
Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre
For research and discussion of issues surrounding twentieth and twenty-first Century poetry; to promote poetry in the local community and to encourage connections between poets, academics and readers of poetry.