Andrew Motion was the UK Poet Laureate from 1999-2009; he is Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway College, University of London. He is the co-founder of the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and audio recordings of poets reading their own work, and of Poetry by Heart, a competition to encourage pupils at school and college in England to learn and recite poems by heart.
Explaining why he considers Poetry by Heart important, he says,
‘Poetry, crucially, is an acoustic form. It’s emotional noise. That is why it’s often able to move us before we completely understand it. Its sounds allow us to receive it in our hearts, as well as in our heads.’
In 2012 he became President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. His most recent collection is The Customs House (Faber, 2012). He has won the Arvon Prize, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, Eric Gregory Award, Whitbread Prize for Biography and the Dylan Thomas Prize. He was knighted for services to poetry in 2009.