The Poetry Society last week picked 20 new poets for a national festival in May

RAYMOND BRIGGS, author: The only one I can always remember is 'Les Sylphides' by Louis MacNeice. 'Life in a day/He took his girl to the ballet/Being short-sighted himself could hardly see it/The white skirts in the grey glade/and the swell of the music lifting the white sails.'

NANNY SMITH, star of Nanny Knows Best: 'The Lady of Shalott' by Tennyson is my favourite, but 'Horatius' by Macaulay used to be my party piece when I was 10 or 11. I particularly liked the part: 'O Tiber, father Tiber/To whom the Romans pray/A Roman's life, a Roman's arms/Take thou in charge this day/So he spake and speaking sheathed/The good sword by his side/And with his harness on his back/Plunged headlong in the tide.'

ROLF HARRIS: The only poems I can remember are from a book called The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay, an Australian illustrator, who wrote it for a bet. It was full of anti-social advice. On table manners, for example: 'Eat away, chew away, munch and blot and guzzle/Never leave the table till you're full up to the muzzle.'

FRANK FIELD, Labour MP: R S Thomas is the greatest British poet we've had this century, which gives the two fingers up to Philip Larkin and his gang. The last he wrote, when his wife died, is one of my favourites - it begins 'We met under a shower of bird-notes . . .'

LESLEY KENTON, health writer: It's a poem by Robert Graves, but I haven't got it and don't know what it's called. It goes 'She is no liar yet she will wash away/honey from her lips/blood from her shadowy hand/and dressed in white/descending the steps at dawn/will say (trusting the innocent world to understand)/such things no longer are/this is today.'

NICK ABBOT, DJ, Virgin 1215: 'There was a young man from Australia/Who painted his arse like a dahlia/The colours were true/They were red, white and blue/But the smell was a bit of a failure.' I have no idea where it comes from - somebody sent it in.

(Photograph omitted)

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