BETT Awards 2011: Winner in the Digital Collections and Resources Category for The Poetry Station

Feedback on the Poetry Station

We thought we’d share some of the lovely comments and terrific suggestions we’ve been sent via the feedback form. As the site develops further we will have the chance both to include more of the poets you’re keen to see and to investigate some of the bigger structural changes that you’ve suggested. Thanks also to those of you who have commented on individual poems.

Thanks for this link - it has certainly brightened my morning.  I think it is an amazing resource and really brings to life the poem and the poet.  I last saw Gillian Clarke perform about 15 years ago and seeing her recite made me want to put the video on the college hall screen.  I will use the site tomorrow when I have my poetry club and let you know how it went down. Salina, City and Islington College

Thanking you kindly for this, this is absolutely great.  We shall view with great interest and enjoyment and I shall circulate to teachers for use in classrooms on the day – or/and for use in assemblies. Donna

what a fantastic site juat found on link from national poetry day but will visit again and tell other teachers going to use for assembly if can find something suitable love john aghard but maybe word ‘hell’ in church school may not go down well!! thanks. Clare Bull, I read/listen to poetry frequently

I have just followed the link on [the National Poetry Day] email to the poetry station site. I love the idea of showing the videos on Thursday and will pass the information on to the English Department. We will also add a link to our VLE pages. However, what would be great for us would be to show the videos on a loop in one of the social spaces in college. Is there any easy way to make this possible? Thanks. Jackie Jones, Learning Resources Centre Manager, Hereford Sixth Form College

Thankyou very much for that link - I’ll spread the word among my staff and see how many will play them on Thursday.

Great site! It gives us so much more having the poem read and visualised for us. Fiona Bowie I read/listen to poetry occasionally

I found the website through a normal google search and I have been very impressed with the styling and content on the pilot site.  As an English teacher the website would be superb if it contained videos on the poems in the new AQA anthology for the new GCSEs.  The Simon Armitage video on the poem ‘Harmonium’ is superb and it is one of the poems that feature in the Anthology. I know funding cuts are a very real danger in the current climate but I certainly hope this project develops; it will be an invaluable resource in teaching poetry to 15 and 16 year olds! James Goodwill

What a fantastic site - some wonderful poems and videos. More please! wink Sarah James, I read/listen to poetry frequently

I love, love, love the Poetry Station and ‘‘share’’ it as often as I can. Thank you. Ken Holmes, I read/listen to poetry occasionally

[Tony Harrison on poetry] it’s the equivalent of a three year degree course in three minutes, thirty two seconds. Tom Richardson, Middlesbrough

Comments: What an absolutely fantastic site. Keep me there. I want to be a fan….how to make teaching English terrific. Thank you. Janet Lynne Smith

I was so glad to find your web site. I love classic English and American poems the best. Poets such as W.B.Yates, Longfellow, Coleridge, Tennyson, Emily Dickenson, John Keats, etc. I was hoping someone with a excellent reading voice could do them on your site. The English I think are the best at reading classic poetry. I hope you can get more people with classic voices reading classic poetry. I would love it. I haven’t checked to see if I can share or e mail some of your video clips to others as I would love to share them. Jemimah Puddleduck

Me again! I like today’s poem, but then I enjoy most of them - I enjoy the variety, and always share them round my facebook pals. Something I would like to see on the site, is a section where people can request their favourite poems, old favourites - perhaps you could list say, half a dozen of them for people to vote during the week, on which one they would like to have read on here, and you could add it at the weekend? Just a thought. I really do hope you don’t change the design too much if you get the funding you want - I love the black and white ‘blackboard effect’. Somehow it makes more of the poems and videos, and suggests that poetry needn’t be difficult - lots of people are daunted by poetry and think it’s too difficult for them, until they hear it. I also hope you don’t get too focussed on providing material for schools - one section is fine, but please, not the whole thing! Another thing I’d like to see, unless it can’t be done for copyright reasons or something, is a written version of the poems. I keep a little notebook of favourites of mine, that I carry around in my handbag. Can’t always get current books in my local library and I can’t afford to buy many books - doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to enjoy poetry though surely? A poem I thought of today, is a John Betjeman one - The Olympic Girl, quite a funny one in a high-brow sort of way. Another of his, Seaside Golf would be a good one at the moment since The Master’s golf tournament is on. That’s it for now, no doubt I’ll be back! Keep up the good work, and thanks! Lynne Liddle

Fantastic Site! Eunice Kallon I read/listen to poetry frequently

Wonderful wonderful wonderful. The year 7 in my English class loved this site, just for the chance of HEARING and SEEING poetry in performance so they know that it is allowed and aloud! Valerie Bodington

A fantastic resources - I hope it continues, it would be lovely if you could make links with some of the GCSE poems. My students are now starting to understand the poetry is intended to be read aloud. Kerry, I read/listen to poetry frequently

My teacher says that rapping is not poetry, and I strongly disagree so I showed her ‘Her Story’ by Natalie Stewart and she was like a different teacher and she gave me house points. So I think that every teacher should know the poetry includes rapping (which is just poetry with music!). So I thank everyone at the poetry channel for putting it up and for letting me tell my teacher who is boss!!! Kerry

Many thanks for the poetry channel and the various updates. I am using the topical readings regularly and forwarding the emails to my colleagues. Keep up the great work. Vive la poesie! Julian Redpath

Just found this via the teachit site and love it. Will show Donne and Marvell to my U6 and will use the Angelou withYear 9. A fabulous resource that lots of my pupils will enjoy exploring themselves too. Thank you! (Age: 26-50; I read/listen to poetry frequently)

I have listened to Jacob Sam La Rose read these poems when he was the resident poet at our school, he literally blew me away. I particularly enjoyed his poem called ‘jigsaw’, about his attempts to piece together his life and link it to his own fathers through only a photograph. About how inevitably, no matter how hard you try, there will always be a piece missing from your puzzle, it will always remain incomplete. I also liked John Hegely for some reason, he’s so eccentric, so it made me look him up, and I loved his poem ‘I need you’ (could you add that to this site). I like this website, and use it often now, it would be nice though if the catogories were clearer, in the sense of traditional, contemporary, and maybe up and coming poets perhaps. Also it is a shame there is no Philip Larkin’s poetry on here, as I have studied him and would like to see some of his Whitsun Weddings works in particular. But apart from that the sites awesome, its set up will appeal to younger people and I really like the fact that most of the poetry is read by its authors, instead of us having to read it, it is far more effective. It might be quite good though if the poets were able to chat about some of their poems, their inspirations, why they wrote particular works. James Bowler, 14-18, I read/listen to poetry occasionally

The poetry channel is an amazing new resource - I’ve posted a link on my facebook page and copied it to everyone in my department and can’t wait to use it in class. Excellent range of poems and I just fell in love with the Hafiz poem and animation from Channel 4 - exquisite blend of words, images and sound. Will put more comments on the site when I’ve a moment - please keep up the good work! Shabanah

‘No Problem’ is a miniature masterpiece from a master! Brilliantly succinct, using metaphor and pun to make some very direct points about racial stereotyping. Email me for a teacher’s worksheet on the poem. Cheers BZ - I’ve been using your work to teach poetry for nearly ten years - so I owe you one! Jonathan Williams (Age: 26-50; I read/listen to poetry frequently)

I really like the layout and style of the website; it makes poems appealing to younger people and students. It would be great if you could add more poems which are included in the GCSE sylabus so you can understand what it is meant to sound like, rather than just having your teacher read it out. Also if the poet could talk about their poem, as well as read it, that would give students a fuller understanding of the poem for their exams. Helen Morse (Age: 14-18; I read/listen to poetry rarely)

Hello! Was in a random meeting today & thought of The Poetry Station.  A colleague suggested making an iPhone/mobile app which would play poetry videos. 
I don’t know if you guys know how to make apps (I don’t, I’m afraid!) but I do know I would definitely love watching these videos on my phone while I’m about & it’d be a great way to share them with friends/non-poetry-types while away from the computer. 
Just thought I’d share.  LOVE LOVE LOVE the Poetry Station.  Best of luck! Aiko Harman (19-25; I read/listen to poetry frequently)

You could do a section specifically for the AQA/exam poems for students to help them with difficulties that they may have in understanding the poem. In addition you could put links to other useful sites on here if the reader/listener did not find the information useful enough. Plus, if you were to do a section for exam poems for students, make it more colourful and visually interesting, as it helps the learning process. Rianne Owen (Age: 14-18; I read/listen to poetry rarely)

I especially enjoyed the poem Crybaby Prime Minister, as I found it quite amusing, topical and relevant to today’s society. I also enjoyed “Back in the Playground Blues” as I thought it was an unusual and interesting take on the school playground, which is usually described as a place of happiness, games and laughter. The description of the destruction of beetles, the discrimination against races, religions and people with different body images were very real and relative, and also true facts which are not normally immediately brought to light when a school playground is thought of. I also found it ironic and amusing, mainly as it was so different from my experiences of the school playground, yet I could take the comments the poet was making and see where there was truth in them.  I think the website is good as it is unusual, as poetry is generally written down and read from books, and I think this is a good way to encourage and promote poetry especially with younger generations who are more into technology. The videos are a good way to enjoy poetry in a more expressive way, which could easily appeal to many types of people. I think it would also be useful however to have the poems written down in the more conventional way somewhere on the site, as it can help the reader or viewer to take in what is actually happening in the poem and absorb and appreciate the words and verses more easily, in two different ways. I think the design of the website is very contemporary and creative, and the name a clever play on words as it is like other channels such as the “Music Channel” and the “Discovery Channel”. I think the website design works effectively to its purpose, as it is easy to use. I especially think the “Poem for Today” was a good idea as it is placed clearly in an open space so it is easily visible, and it is always nice to read something that has been recommended by others, and even if you visited the website just once in a while, it would be nice to read the poem of the day. Overall I think the website is very creative and original, and also helpful for people studying poetry, or even just to enjoy the different genres and types of writing that it promotes. Ciara Hayes (14-18; I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

Great idea! The sound is weak, even when turned volume to highest. Need to be able to hear in class with pupils! Also could we please have poems by dead writers performed by actors. This would open up Shakespeare, the Romantics etc. Mary Seddon (26-50; I read/listen to poetry frequently)

This website is easy to use and has a wide variety of poetry on it. The design of this website is simple and i will like to see more attractive colours added to the site. My favourite poem was Poison Tree by William Blake because it was easy to understand and i enjoyed listening to it. Sonya Bashir (14-18; I read/listen to poetry rarely)

Fantastic resource, this is an excellent website. (19-25; I read/listen to poetry frequently)

I really enjoyed the website and all of the poems which I found. Sophie Williams (14-18; I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

Wow i am so inspired by all this poetry. It opens the mind and lets you imagination flow with all the different poems on this site, it makes the atmosphere even more exciting with the authors reading them. Amelia Rome (19-25; I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

The poetry channel is a very easy website to use what i liked the most is that you can watch and hear the poets telling there poems. Damian Radcliffe (Under 13: I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

I enjoyed ‘Mile End Purgatorio’ by Martin Doyle because it was clever how the signs had been arranged. I also understood the poem more when I looked at the screen. I would like if the poetry channel changed the list of poems into a more clear style. The design uses clear colours and is easy to use. I love it and so do my friends. i think that it will give me the chance to read more poems and discover new authors. I can’t wait to read more fun and exciting poems. This website shows easier ways to understand poems. For example I read the poem ‘My dad did’ and didn’t understand it until I watched it on the poetry channel. I hope to visit the poetry channel again soon. Lydia Cowell (Under 13; I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

Firstly, I’d like to say that the website is very well set out, i like the layout, its simple and easy to navigate through and I like how it is all on one page. Although, me being a person who likes a lot of colour thinks that it would be nice to change the background from black to something bright, which would catch the eye of the person logging onto the site. I really like the name across the top and how it is drawn but again you could use brighter colours on that too. It looks very professional but doesn’t look very exciting. Brighten it up a little, make it look a little more happy and then you will find more people coming back to the site! Jack Ball (Under 13; I never read/listen to poetry)

The poetry channel is a website that transforms poetry from just words in a book to exciting and interesting stories or even songs. The website is very easy to navigate and the content is easily accessible. With the different search categories it is easy to find the poem you are looking for. With the website allowing you to contribute your own poems is a great way of getting people involved not only in this website but into poetry as a whole. If you are not really into reading poetry having the video poems is a way of ensuring that everyone can enjoy poetry. The poem “My dad did” by Sophie Hannah is a poem i have seen in one of my english lessons and i think the poem is brought to life by the video, when we read the poem i didn’t really understand it but after seeing the video it is clear what the meaning is, i think having the videos makes all of the poems meanings more clear. I think the site could have more poems on it, especially as most of them fall into the same categories. I have never really liked poetry but after seeing the way that poems can come to life with the help of this website has changed the way i think about poetry and i would certainly recommend it to anyone who feels the way i used to. Thomas Arkle (Under 13; I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

This is a fantastic resource! I will certainly be using this in my lessons. Any chance of adding a reading of ‘The Flea’ (Donne)? Anna Smith (Age: 26-50; I read/listen to poetry frequently)

I especially enjoyed watching Patience Agbabi read two of her poems however I was disappointed that my favourite of her works, her poem “Eat Me” was not available to view on the site. In addition I am fascinated by Dannie Abse’s poetry after having studied it at school but once again some of the best of his works, in my opinion, for example his poems “Cricket Ball” and “Blond Boys” were not on the website. To improve the site I would love to see some of Philip Larkin’s poetry from his compilation “The Whitsun Weddings” and also perhaps some more Romantic poetry. Generally I think the website is laid out very well, its usability is admirable and its appearance will certainly attract the younger generation. Nicholas Buckle (Age: 14-18; I read/listen to poetry frequently)

What a great web site this is!!!! Simple, easy to understand and I do like the design. But maybe the back ground could be changed: I think a brighter colour would cheer us even more!  Thanks for having invented this website. Nicolas Lévy (Age: 14-18; I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

I enjoyed the “your dad did what?” poem it was very emotional. I especially like any poems by Benjamin Zephaniah because he is funny and his poems are something different to listen to. I would like to see the Benjamin Zephaniah poem “Talking Turkeys” added to this website as this is one of my all time favourite poems. The design of this website I think is nice because there is an authentic type of feel to it, also I think that the usability of this website is very easy to use but could be improved by maybe adding a search bar that you can use to search for poems instead of having to search through all of them to find your favourite poems. Joe Weston (Under 13; I read/listen to poetry frequently)

People from over the globe today,
Look for the poetry channels wonderful display,
Black and mysterious,
Like the poems delirious.

Ease of use,
Doesn’t confuse.
Brilliant vids,
Good for kids,
The poems entertain me,
Better than a TV.

Famous poets on this site,
Filled with glory and might,
My Favourite poem,
“Your dad did what”
Made me think quite a lot
The big clue didn’t stand out to you,
Then it pounced on me like a kangaroo.
Your dad did what,
My dad died.

This website is very good, I like the way it is presented and the way it stands out from other poetry websites, this website has made me more interested about poetry. It is very eye-catching; I would like to see more poems added to this website. Matthew Kempa (Under 13; Frequency: I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

I loved Jackie Kay’s Old Tongue and John Hegley’s I’m a potato.  This site is great and my aim would be to call in every day as it is good for my soul. Design and usability is good, by the way. Margaret McGuigan (Age: 26-50; I read/listen to poetry frequently)

The poetry channel is a great place to listen and to watch great poems being told. I like the fact that you are actually seeing the poet telling the poem and it helps you to understand the poem and in some poems it actually does a little scene. For example in Your Dad Did What it is actually acting out the poem and it makes it a lot easier to understand. This poem in particular is my favourite as when we first read it in class are slightly confused but the second time you read it, it all starts to all come together with the E that the teacher gave him you fit it into DID and it becomes DIED. The short film on The Poetry Station helps you to understand the poem a lot more but is a lot more emotional as on the channel it displays the boy being sad and makes you think about loosing someone special to you. It is quite sad but is very clever and the poet (Sophie Hannah) that wrote it has written in a way that not many other poems have. This being the fact that you think about the poem really carefully and actually feel sorry for this boy who had the most dreadful holiday as his dad died.
The poetry channel is a great place to go to when you have a spare moment to listen to the poems and to think about things that are going on around the world and to reflect on “what could happen in the future?” and “could that ever happen to me?”
The colour scheme is great and the toolbar set out on the side is a brilliant idea as i managed to find the poet that i wanted really quickly, and another clever idea is to have a poem for today as i know many of my friends and family (and me) now listen to it, and as soon as i showed my Mum it she instantly got into it and now enjoys sitting down and listening to the variety of poems.
Overall The Poetry Station is a website suitable for all ages and i am sure it will be enjoyed by many and i know i have learnt new things thanks to this website and i now understand poetry a lot more than i did. Louise Birch

This website is interactive and is full of interesting content. Personally i enjoyed the humour poems most, because i have always had a strong sense of humour. But favourite topics in poems could differ in the younger generation. Although poems that make people laugh always go down well with my age group. You could add more funny poems to the website, and more information about them on each page. You could even make a student page with tips and advice on how to get into the poetry scene and what poems to read and study. You could add a list of poetic terms on there too. This website could be used in English lessons at school. It would involve the students with the website and the students would learn more about poetry. Just an idea. The sites very accessible and easy to use. Hard to get lost in the information because of the clever layout. All i would suggest though is have a brighter more eyecatching colour scheme to appeal to viewers of a younger age and more images and video poem recommendations on the home page. To drag the viewers in. And the 3 side headings: Poets, Topics & Titles could be more prominent and in larger text so that it stands out more. As it is the main factors of the website. Overall, you have a good website, but to appeal to the students of today’s society, you will have to become more education friendly and apply the bright colours or relevant images into the design. Involve the younger generation more into the website and you will have a wider audience. Please take my suggestions into consideration. Thank you. Charlotte Maher (Under 13; I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

I think that the Poetry Station is a really good website for English teachers who are teaching poetry. This can really help to understand how the poem is said and what the message in the poem is. The website is easy to use and easy to find what you’re looking for. I think that every English teacher should use the Poetry Station as it will help the students to learn poetry and to maybe encourage them to read and listen to it more often. My favourite poet on this website is John Agard because he tells his poems in a funny and unusual way. Zak Roberts (Under 13; I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

I have enjoyed this website as I could listen to the poets read their own poems and also I could read famous poems and poems that other people have posted. It is a simple website that has a lot of purpose such as giving you an opportunity to read hundreds of poems from all sorts of groups; humour, romance and more. Although there is so much that I could comment on for this website I would recommend making the site slightly easier to use or/and adding games or activities to the site such as write and animate your own poem and help on what to base a poem on. I would then enjoy this website more as it would enable you to get involved with writing more poems and giving you more ideas. I am also sure that people would know more about the site if you advertised it in school’s by giving out letters and telling the teacher about it. Amelia Mawby (Age: Under 13; I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

This is a brilliant resource. As a PGCE student I will look forward to using this in my future teaching! Michelle Cockerill (Age: 19-25; I read/listen to poetry frequently)

This site is such a good idea! I love poetry anyway but this modernises the way it is seen with all sorts of useful ideas. Seeing and hearing the poem recite their work can help conjure the imagery and message of the poem. The mini-biographies on the poets (especially Tony Harrison who I confess to be a fan of!) is definitely one of the site’s best points since you can tell the information is reliable and well sourced. The website has a clear and relevant structure that is easy to use. I think that the site could perhaps include some revision quizzes or questions on certain poets or set up a revision forum for a particular poem/poet for students to compare notes with and help each other out! Louisa Clack (Age: 14-18; I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

Loved summer with monica, listen mr oxford don and cello good to be able to see (except roger mc’gough ) people actually reciting the words.  it was easy enough to access and the design appears to work well, well done perhaps at one stage having people recite more of the classic poetry,  but still keeping room for new work. just been introduced to this but i will be accessing quite a lot more. Marjorie Cooper (Age: 50-65; I read/listen to poetry occasionally)

Hi there, I’ve really enjoyed using your site over the last few days - a great variety of poets and topics - I’ve enjoyed new poems I wouldn’t normally come across. I have just finished reading (out loud) Simon Armitage’s translation of Homer’s Odyssey. I noticed that it was originally written for radio and has been performed on stage since - it would be great if you could source any snippets from these productions. James

Fantastic site making poetry ever more accessible and revealing a whole new way of finding out about poets both new and old. A lovely looking site too. Molly

I loved everything about the poetry channel, layout, ease of selection, information, being able to share poems with friends instantly by email. Being able to listen to poetry read aloud whenever I want to hear it is a real treat. Katherine

Think the site is fab and looking forward to more contributions. I have just been searching under theme of Mothers and disappointed to see none as yet. What about Dear Mama by 2pac? It would also be great to see some more love poems please. What about Wendy Cope and Carol Ann Duffy? Julie

Though the mainstream is undoubtedly very good, the Poetry Station looks like an excellent initiative for finding authentic voices from beyond that confine. Peter

Lovely to have varied poets, poems, delivery, imaginative things to look at with words on screen too sometimes. As a teacher and for my own enjoyment, lots more of the same please! Could easily be broadened using links, eg ‘if you liked this then why not try this’, also DIY ‘understanding more’ ideas, plus teaching resources. Kathryn

I love this! Our study of poetry at school is so focused on analysis of technique and form that the intended joy and appreciation of listening to a poem is often lost. I think these films will challenge the students’ ideas about finding poetry ‘boring’ and ‘pointless’ through delivery by visual medium, the range of ethnicities involved and also the topics which are often funny - the funny poem is also something that also gets left out at school. It will be a real shame if this project ends in a couple of months as it means lots of my classes will not have the opportunity to use this resource. Grainne

Great site.  Will be really useful for teachers and also hopefully get students and all sorts of people exploring poetry in their own time. Like the idea of a Leonard Cohen song, but where will the ‘line’ be drawn here?  There are lots of singer-songwriters and rappers whose music could be described as ‘poetic’ - perhaps you need a separate section/‘topic’ for this. People like Eminem, K’Naan or Speech Debelle are all rappers I listen to whose lyrics are often worth exploring - but you’d have to choose carefully and perhaps find radio edits in some cases!  In terms of singers, what about Bob Dylan, Suzanne Vega, the Indigo Girls, Ani di Franco, Thea Gilmore…? Will you be including poet Patience Agbabi?  I think she’d be perfect here too. Tessa

What do I think of the poetry site? I think it’s an absolute joy. And the best poem? Leonard Cohen, “Dance Me To The End of Love.” Lyrics as poetry? The metaphorical nature of dance? The definition of “end of love”? Pick your way through that lot pupils and don’t let me hear another word about boring poetry. What would I like to see added to the site? Gareth Durasow and Jimi Andrex regularly wow audiences at the Red Shed, Wakefield’s premier (only) spoken word venue. You should get them in the can, as it were. Oh, and did I say thank you? John

I’ve wanted to hear Jackie Kay reading her poem ‘Old Tongue ’ for years – absolutely brilliant. I shall enjoy visiting and revisiting for this poem alone but I am sure there will be many more. Anna

I think it’s a wonderful site – inviting, easily negotiated (not so sure about the directions to Amazon, though!) – I could have sat for hours watching and I think students will, too. Penny

Lovin’ what it looks like so far! Great that there are some familiar poets - and ones less so. I like the grouping under topics - really useful for teachers. So thanks, and keep me posted! Juli

I really enjoyed just dipping into the site, discovering new poets as well as old favourites. It is easy to use! I like the fact that I could select a 2 minute poem to play to a class (just for fun!) at the start or end of a lesson, I can see all sorts of ways to use it to stimulate creative writing and discussion – NOT just to dissect for an exam. There is also potential with A level (I do AQA B Lang/Lit) for the Talk in Life and Literature module. Thanks for this excellent site, definitely one to share with the rest of my department. Paula

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