Voters can choose from a shortlist of 30 poets selected by a panel of judges. One can vote for
TS Eliot, WB Yeats, Dylan Thomas, WH Auden, John Donne, Milton, Blake, Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Christina Rossetti, Kipling, Hardy, Hopkins, Wilfred Owen, Betjeman, Larkin,Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Stevie Smith
as well as contemporary poets such as
Carol Ann Duffy, Seamus Heaney, Roger McGough, Simon Armitage (left), Wendy Cope and Benjamin Zephaniah.
It's interesting Shelley didn't make the shortlist, nor did Matthew Arnold, while Christina Rossetti did.
The winner will be announced on October 8, Britain's National Poetry Day.
Best of all, one can read more than 100 poems on the website, representing all the contenders.
I loved three poems I had never read before: You're Beautiful, by Simon Armitage; Valentine, by Carol Ann Duffy; and Bloody Men, by Wendy Cope (left).
Bloody Men is bloody funny, so I will take the liberty of posting it here:
Bloody men are like bloody buses –
You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.
You look at them flashing their indicators,
Offering you a ride.
You're trying to read the destinations,
You haven't much time to decide.
If you make a mistake, there is no turning back.
Jump off, and you'll stand there and gaze
While the cars and the taxis and lorries go by
And the minutes, the hours, the days.
Poets have this wonderful gift of making the ordinary memorable with a phrase or an image. Consider this short poem by John Betjeman:
In A Bath Teashop
"Let us not speak, for the love we bear
one another –
Let us hold hands and look."
She, such a very ordinary little woman;
He, such a thumping crook;
But both, for a moment, little lower than the angels
In the teashop's ingle-nook.
Yes, it's only seven lines long, but isn't it beautiful?