The honorary title of Poet Laureate is given to writers generally considered to be pre-eminent in their time. Poets Laureate sometimes write to capture national moods and key events using the power of poetry in a way which pure historical fact cannot. They act as ambassadors for poetry, often leaving a rich legacy dedicated to the appreciation and awareness of poetry.

Over the years, the Poetry Archive has had the pleasure of acquiring recordings of poems by many Laureates in the English-speaking world.

Our Laureate Collection preserves their work for your enjoyment and insight. The collection will continue to evolve and grow, bringing together a wealth of exclusive archive content and contextual material from publicly available websites.

UK Poets Laureate


Learn about the history of Poets Laureate

Poets Laureate are appointed as an honorary representative in their country, region, or group and often represent an eminent writer of their time. Laureates capture prominent moments or moods for nations, using the power of poetry to capture history in...
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“Poetry provides an important alternative voice to journalists or pundits or academics as a way of dealing with things that matter to us all.”

- Carol Ann Duffy

Classic UK Laureate Poems

While summer suns o’er the gay prospect play’d 
An Autumn Homily
A Song For St Cecilia’s Day
Song To Celia
The Solitary Reaper

Contemporary UK Laureate Poems

The English Astronaut
The Discoveries of Geography

Scotland, Ireland and Wales Poets Laureate

Laureateships are usually national appointments, but some regions and local areas also appoint Poet Laureates. The duties, renumeration and the length of the appointment will vary by country. Not all countries use the term ‘Poet Laureate’, for example in Scotland, they are known as 'The Makar' and in Wales as the 'National Poet of Wales'.

Welsh was the Mother Tongue
In My Country
A Gull
Mossbawn Sunlight

U.S.A Poets Laureate

In the United States, the official title of the poet laureate is "Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry." This title was established by an act of Congress on December 20, 1985 (Public Law 99-194). From 1937 to December 20, 1985, the position was titled "Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress."

Life Cycle of Common Man
During the War
A Sunset of the City
Statue and Birds
The Truly Great

Canada Poets Laureate

George Elliott Clarke
Hard Nails
King Bee Blues

Barbados & Jamaica Poets Laureate

Esther Phillips
Mervyn Morris
Olive Senior
Lorna Goodison

This collection was made possible with the generous support of Mark Pigott K.B.E KStJ.