Children Compile Their Own Poetry Anthologies

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‘Anthologise’ was the title of a UK competition for school students aged 11-18 – another brilliant educational initiative of the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. The competition was administered by the Poetry Book Society and was launched by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall in September 2011.

See more at:

It invited students to compile their own anthologies of poetry. The competition was judged by a panel which included laureate Carol Ann Duffy; National Poet for Wales, Gillian Clarke; Scots Makar, Liz Lochhead; poet John Agard; poet Grace Nichols; and Cambridge Professor of Children’s Poetry, Morag Styles. The winning anthology was published by Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, in 2013.

The original website is no longer available but there is still some very interesting and useful information available on the Picador website Click on ‘blog’ and type ‘anthologise’ in the search bar.


Here you will find amongst other things:

A Message from Carol Ann Duffy

Advice from Poets and Anthologists

Points for Students to Consider

Information on the winning anthology

— all worth saving while they are there!

The winning collection, published by Picador in 2013, was Monkton Combe School’s anthology, The Poetry of Earth is Never Dead   (Contents below)

A few minutes of googling various press releases etc about this competition will supply some heartening evidence of poetry’s continuing power to excite and inspire children. You will also find discussions of how the project supported the school curriculum and prompted students to pursue different issues through poetry of all ages and places.

I also came across another poet’s intention to expand this project. (Oxford World Book Capital Bid 2014)

Oxford’s City Poet, Kate Clanchy, will expand a national initiative started by the UK’s Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, called Anthologise. This project invites children to read as much poetry as possible in order to put together their own anthologies, the best of which receive prizes.

For more information please visit:

Wouldn’t it be great if an Australian Publisher took up the idea?


Contents of Anthologise 2012 winning anthology:

Appreciation of Nature

On the Grasshopper and Cricket,   John Keats

Through That Door,     John Cotton

My Idle Dreams Roam Far,    Li Yu (Chinese)

The Praise of Spring,  Gonzalo de Berceo

Earth Songs,      John Clarke

The Earth and The People,    Traditional (Inuit)

Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now,    A.E. Housman

Sonnet,      John Clare

The Negro Speaks of Rivers,    Langston Hughes

Earth Cries,      Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze

Moss-Gathering,     Theodore Roethke


Cycle of Nature

An Alphabet for the Planet,    Riad Nourallah

Death of a Naturalist,    Seamus Heaney

Place,       W.S. Merwin

The River in March,     Ted Hughes

A Beetle Called Derek,    Benjamin Zephaniah

Nature,      Loriah Leah


Human Ecology

Cultivators,      Susan Taylor

The Shepherd,     William Blake

The Case,      Kathleen Jamie

The Magnificent Bull,     Dinka Tribe

Close to Nature,     Nnamdi Ben Nneji

Inside my Zulu Hut,     Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali

I Tell the Bees,      Jo Shapcott

Gathering the Honey,    Virgil



Nothing Gold Can Stay,    Robert Frost

Report to Wordsworth,    Boey Kim Cheng

Lily of the Valley,     Alice Oswald

Trailing Arbutus,     Gloria Sarasin

Endangered Species,    David Constantine

The Flower-Fed Buffaloes,    Vachel Lindsay

Pheasant,      Sylvia Plath

Almanac,      Primo Levi

Estuary,      Ian Hamilton Finlay

Harvest Hymn,     John Betjeman

The Recital of Lost Cities,    Lavinia Greenlaw

The Woman in the Moon,    Carol Ann Duffy



The Trees,      Philip Larkin

The Eclipse,      Richard Eberhart

The Cloud,      Percy Bysshe Shelley

Si Dieu N’existait Pas,     John Burnside

Heavenly Grass,     Tennessee Williams

I’m Alive, I Believe in Everything,   Lesley Choyce

Tomorrow’s Child,      Glenn Thomas

A Light Exists in Spring,    Emily Dickinson


This article was kindly provided by Australian children’s poet,  Kate O’Neil


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