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World Book Night adds poetry to mass giveaway next April

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Twelve and a half thousand copies of an anthology featuring poets from TS Eliot to Les Murray will be distributed free in the spring to promote reading

The people of Britain are set to become a little better versed in the works of some of modern poetry’s greatest names after a poetry anthology made it on to the list of titles to be given away in their thousands as part of World Book Night next spring.

Featuring well-known modern poetry including TS Eliot’s Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and Philip Larkin’s An Arundel Tomb, as well as lesser-known poems by the late Scots Makar Edwin Morgan, Polish Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska and Australia’s Les Murray, Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy is the first poetry anthology to be part of the nationwide giveaway since it launched in 2011. Financial support from the Jerwood Foundation and Forward Arts mean that 12,500 copies of the title from tiny poetry press Bloodaxe will be given away on 23 April next year, alongside equal quantities of work by authors including Roddy Doyle, David Almond, Rachel Joyce, Lynda La Plante and Elif Shafak.

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