Notes from our Director, Dr Tracey Guiry
When a poet dies without being recorded, a unique voice and slice of social history is lost forever and that loss is felt more keenly as time passes. Our digital nature has supported our sustainability and all services are maintained and brought to you by a very small core team. But we are a mouse that roars! Our new websites have collectively attracted more than 5.3 million page-views, a growth of 2.5 million on the year before. We believe this is testament to the comfort that accessible poetry can offer in difficult times, and of the fantastic loyalty and support we have from you, our audiences. Your feedback has told us that you treasure the Archive as a free resource, and that hearing poetry can stimulate and inspire creativity, support excellent educational development and provide positive support to mental wellbeing, comfort and enjoyment. We will keep safe our collection of nationally and internationally significant poetry recordings, interviews and contextual information for the benefit of all, whether you are educators, students, poets or simply people who love to hear poetry.
This year, our annual Poetry Archive Now initiative welcomed another 327 poets from around the globe, opening up a unique, international discourse to reflect our times through poetry and offering a global platform to our poets. We partnered with Poetry Screen to offer opportunities for young film-makers to work with poetry as dialogue, and we created a poetry discussion event with Poetry Africa which has, so far, had over 6000 views online. In partnership with the Obsidian Foundation we are recording poets to launch a special collection in February 2022, when we will also launch our fresh website home-page design and navigation. We are continuing to build our UK Poet Laureate, Nursery Rhyme, Laurel, CLiPPA and T S Eliot Collections, and were delighted to begin a new collection with the ‘Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ children’s poetry project in collaboration with the National Centre for Languages in Scotland. Although our ability to record poets in studios over the past 2 years has been disrupted, we were grateful to the National Heritage Lottery Fund for their support to buy in our own mobile studio equipment. This year we have added Pascale Petit and Zaro Weil to the Archive. For publication next year we already have recordings of Nick Makoha, Raymond Antrobus, Roger Robertson, Malika Booker, Keith Jarret, Rachel Long, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Inua Ellams, Yomi Sodeand Hannah Sullivan. We also look forward to collections from Celia Sorhaindo, Karen McCarthey-Woolf, Liz Brownlee, Will Burns and Richard Beregarten.
Coming up for 2022
Our aims for 2022 remain ambitious. We will continue to work hard to strengthen our financial and operational stability and preserve poetry to the best possible standards whilst growing the range and diversity of the Archive. Our Education programme and TEACH resources attract more than 300,000 visits per year and we will provide opportunities for every child and young person, their parents, carers, and those who teach them, to experience poetry as an enjoyable and enriching part of their lives. A new project next year looks at the ways which poetry can support the positive mental health of our communities and of our planet.
As a registered Charity we rely on fundraising to ensure we can preserve our collections and make them free-to-access. We are grateful to the Arts Council England, TS Eliot Foundation, National Hertiage Lottery Fund and our Patrons and Members for their crucial funding support. And we also thank YOU, the people who visit our collections, love our poetry and support us through Memberships or donations. We really couldn’t do it without you! The Poetry Archive team wishes everyone a happy holiday and a fantastic 2022.