Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)

Valentine Voices: reading the poetry of love

  • Date: 11 February 2010
  • Area: National

This year the Poetry Archive has teamed up with Times Online to create Valentine Voices, a wonderful collection of poems to enthrall, entertain and beguile lovers everywhere.

The idea is simple: visitors to Times Online can browse a list of poems read by celebrity readers and poets before sending a poem to their beloved's mobile phone.

The selection of Valentine readings includes:

  • Judi Dench reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning's How do I Love Thee?
  • Jude Law reading Byron's She Walks in Beauty
  • Keira Knightley reading Percy Bysshe Shelley's Love's Philosophy

Other readings will be presented by Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, Joanna Lumley, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Simon Callow, Patrick Stewart and Daniel Radcliffe. Poets such as Carol Ann Duffy, Wendy Cope and Pam Ayres will also read their own works.

With every poem sent, a contribution will go to the Poetry Archive, a not-for-profit organisation. The archive, launched a little over four years ago by Richard Carrington and former poet laureate Andrew Motion, is an online collection of poets reading their own work. Its aims are to make sure that important voices are preserved, to stimulate the teaching of poetry in schools and to develop the general audience for poetry.

Since its launch, the archive has grown fast and its regular monthly audience is almost a quarter of a million people, who every month listen to roughly 1.25 million pages of poetry. Contributions from Valentine Voices will go towards preserving the existing health of the archive and developing it in the future.