Gyles Brandreth has set down the challenge – Can you learn a poem by Christmas?

His recent Radio 4 programme Gyles Brandreth’s Poetry By Heart explores the benefits of learning poetry for both the young and old…

Learning poetry by heart is not only a good thing but is something you should do for the sake of your brain as well as your soul. Learning poetry by heart helps children communicate better and helps adults stave off dementia. Fact

Gyles Brandreth

Somebody got me into Robbie Burns and I remember very much ‘My Heart’s in the Highlands’,,, I remember ‘Matilda’ (Hilaire Belloc)… I got into cautionary tales probably having told a terrible fib to somebody

HRH Duchess of Cornwall

Shakespeare sticks like other things perhaps don’t, I mean the Sonnets I can remember and it’s because they go with the beat of your heart… I do think it’s good for us, I think that whole thing of learning by heart. I think it’s something to do with the beat of your heart.

Dame Judy Dench

Linguistic learning… first in is last out. so things that you learn as a young child should be retained by your brain for longer and be the last to go….  Rhythmic language is very important for developing the brain’s processing system for speech when you are a baby and a young child…..  You need to keep challenging your brain with new input new contents and learning new poems is certainly a great way to do that.

Professor Usha Gushwami

I spend a lot of my time helping other’s to learn poems for LAMDA exams and often learn the poem myself as a bi product of my lessons but I haven’t purposely learned a poem myself for many years. So I’m taking on the challenge and planning to learn a poem by Christmas. Will you join me?

Visit the website to listen to the whole programme and find some ideas for poems you might learn. Gyles Brandreth’s Poetry By Heart