Explore poetry using our special collections. Curated around specific themes and forms, these collections bring you the wealth of poetry available in the Archive.

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Special Collection

National Poetry Day, founded by Forward Arts Foundation in 1994, is an annual celebration that inspires people throughout the UK to enjoy, discover and share poems. Everyone is invited to join in, whether by organising events, displays, competitions or by simply posting favourite…

Guided Tour

“I’ve avoided poems that other writers here have recommended, but which otherwise would certainly have been on my list (such as Richard Wilbur’s superb ‘A Barred Owl’, chosen by Andrew Motion). There are also some astonishing recordings in the historical…

Guided Tour

“Since I spend much of my time rooting around in the eighteenth century, this is where I headed first. Hearing poems from long ago brought to life by poets from our own age is peculiarly fascinating. The doubling-up of voices…

Guided Tour

“On my initial visit to the Poetry Archive, the historical recordings caught my attention first. I did not know that recordings of Tennyson, for instance, existed. Although some of the following lines were a little indistinct, it was incredibly exciting…

Guided Tour

“As a secondary schoolteacher in London for the past thirty years, it has been my privilege to have had a job which at its core, involves getting teenagers to fall in love with poetry. I have made my selection for…

Guided Tour

“I really enjoyed listening to all the poems in the Archive. It’s fantastic to hear poets reading their own work. It took me a long time to choose my favourites – I think it would be much easier to choose…

Guided Tour

“The writer and broadcaster Clive James introduces a few of his favourite poems in the Poetry Archive.”  

Guided Tour

“Poetry happens at a sort of junction in the mind when new combinations start up, words and pictures start connecting in unexpected ways. It takes you into what can feel like anarchic territory, and that’s one reason for trying to…

Guided Tour

“I love this archive. It’s an important reminder that all literature has its roots in the human voice. Black print on white paper is not remote and abstract stuff but grows out from ‘ordinary’ language, is linked to stories told…

Guided Tour

“Stephen Fry is a man of many talents: actor, novelist, comedian, librettist, thinker and wit. In an interview with Michael Parkinson, he was described as being “a man with a brain the size of Kent”. This is his tour of…

Guided Tour

“My short tour of the Poetry Archive is designed to show its range, as well as the strength-in-depth of its holdings. And also to demonstrate how the pleasures and meanings of poetry depend as much on sound-sense as they do…

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