And we are all hugely thankful to all of you who have stepped up and helped us continue our work through your generosity, whether by donating £3 by text, by taking out one of our Memberships, by subscribing to our Insider Newsletter and through your donations of time or money or simply by sharing our resources far and wide.
What we achieved in 2023
In 2023 we focused on our sustainability and consulted with our audiences and supporters to find out what you wanted from a Poetry Archive, and how we can bring it to you. If you have 5 minutes to spare, please do consider completing our Survey to help inform our future plans.
The year began with our launch of the BBC 100 Collection. This collection is bursting with rare recordings of poets from the 1920s through to the 2020s, including E. E. Cummings, Wole Soyinka, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou and many other titans of poetry. The UK Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, also took us through a few of his favourites in his own guided tour, which you can view by clicking here.
We continued to publish poems to the Obsidian Collection which celebrates the poetry and crucial influence of Black British poets, and we launched collections to celebrate Earth Day, Pride and seasonal anniversaries. We celebrated 50 years of the PN Review with a collection and collected more than 200 new poets and their poems through our Poetry Archive Now! annual open call. New Collections from individual poets in 2023 included recordings from Matt Goodfellow, Paul Groves, Lachlan MacKinnon and Andrew McMillan. Our 2023 Mother Tongue Other Tongue collection, working with Scotland’s National Centre for Languages has been hugely popular as a means of bringing poetry in translation to our audiences.
We can’t end our year without a tribute the great and much missed Benjamin Zephaniah, and we hope you enjoy remembering him through our recordings alongside the enormous impact he has had on poetry and our society through his work.
This is what the Poetry Archive does. We offer a fascinating insight into the unique life bought to a poem through its writers’ own voice, through the way they speak, stress and breathe through their poetry. We make digital recordings with the aim that no significant poet will go unrecorded, and we preserve and care for these recordings to ensure that future generations will understand how important these voices are.
Looking to the future
We think our collections are part of a very special cultural gift and we will work hard to achieve our ongoing mission to preserve and grow these collections for future generations.
As we look ahead we are guided by our mission to enrich people’s lives through poetry access and education.
We are creating a collection of poetry in British Sign Language (BSL), both to preserve examples of poetry created in BSL as a native language, and to open up some of our existing poetry in English to a wider audience. We are also working to collect poets from India and the sub-continent. We are lucky to own the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Archive and will be sharing more of this across the year, and we look forward to creating many more special collections in collaboration with partners.
We are also opening up our archiving expertise, so do get in touch if you know of poetry audio recordings anywhere which we might be able to help preserve.
Thank you all, once again, for your love of poetry and the support you have given us all through the year. We’re looking forward to a 2024 full of fine poetry which can be enjoyed by everyone!
Best wishes from everyone at the Poetry Archive!