Modern bards to battle for crown

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The Independent Online
Bob Dylan's Blowing in the Wind and John Betjemen's Slough are to battle it out over the next 10 days for the crown of favourite post-war poem in a BBC poll celebrating the third National Poetry Day.

Bookmakers William Hill are compiling the odds for the showdown, with John Lennon's Imagine, WH Auden's Stop all the Clocks and Ted Hughes's Thought Fox among the other leading contenders. The winner will be decided on the basis of votes cast by people who telephone a special BBC hotline.

In a similar poll last year to find out the all-time favourite, Rudyard Kipling's If was the clear winner. More than 7,500 people voted for around 1,000 different poems. "Last year ... modern poetry didn't get a look in," said the BBC's Daisy Goodwin.

"This year we're testing the poetry boom: is poetry the new rock `n' roll, or is rock `n' roll the new poetry? Who is more relevant, Bob Dylan or Philip Larkin, and how far have the lines of demarcation between words and lyrics been blurred?

"I want people to feel free to nominate anything from Nobel prize winners to rock lyrics - just as long as it's no more than 50 years old."

Lines are open from noon today until noon on Thursday, 10 October, with the winner being announced in a special BBC1 programme on Friday, 11 October.

5To vote call 0891 555300 (maximum cost 26p).