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Poetry and Memory


An interdisciplinary research project investigating the experience of poetry learning

Project introduction

Our interdisciplinary project will investigate experiences of poetry learning, and examine the relationships between memorisation, recitation and understanding. Poetry memorisation and recitation were once inscribed in British education and woven into the fabric of cultural life, but have declined dramatically in recent years. Although there are signs of reviving interest in these practices and of their reinstatement on the curriculum, there is almost no research on their effects, or on how they might best be embedded within pedagogy. Findings will be relevant for pedagogical policy and practice, and contribute to wider discourses about cultural identity and locations of knowledge.

Project website

For more information, see the project website:

Principal Investigator

David Whitley

Full-time researcher

Debbie Pullinger


Leverhulme Trust (January 2104–December 2016)