Simon Armitage finds the idea of learning poems by heart "brings back bad memories". I'm sure he'll get over them. I'm fairly sure Michael Gove is not thinking of grown men having to do compulsory conning . As for Michael Rosen, he feels that learning poetry by heart will turn it into "a duty, an obligation and a bore". Clearly, then, poetry isn't as important for Rosen as maths or physics or geography or any other subject that children are forced to study against their wills, but which I would hope he would approve the teaching of.
Even in the 19660s and 70s we weren't forced to learn poems off by heart. I wish we had been.
There is a passage in 'Touching the Void' in which Joe Simpson, crawling down an Andean mountain with two broken legs, finds that he knows several Shakespeare sonnets by heart, though can not remember having learned them. This must have been the work of some officious Gore clone who insisted he do so. Of course they were probably a duty, an obligation, and a bore to learn but at least they saved him from the interminable chords of 'Brown Girl in the Ring' which had been making his crawl back to life even more hellish.
Read Howard Jacobson in the Independent, here. He has it right.