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National Poetry Library

Visit National Poetry Library at Royal Festival Hall and explore the most comprehensive collection of poetry in Britain. The library has been at the heart of the nation’s poetry community since it was founded by the Arts Council in 1953 and opened by poets T.S. Eliot and Herbert Read.

Join now -

It’s free to join and all you need to bring with you is:

  • a photo ID such as a passport or driving licence
  • a bill from the last 3 months with your name and address on it (a bank statement or a utility bill for example)

About the collection


Spanning the world of poetry since 1912, the library has over 200,000 items and is growing all the time. We are the first port of call for everyone with a love of modern poetry in the UK.

We have extensive resources for poets, academics, schools and families as well as a host of engaging events and exhibitions. The library is free to use, open to all and offers an unrivalled journey into poetry across all its forms.

We offer a free postal service of CDs and cassettes to people with sight problems throughout the UK as well as a selection of popular modern poets and anthologies in Braille. Our eloan collection makes ebooks and audio available to all members from the comfort of their own home.

     

      Opening times

      National Poetry Library is open Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - 8pm and closed to the public on Mondays

      Find us

      National Poetry Library, Level 5, Blue Side, Royal Festival Hall 
      Tel: 020 7921 0664 or 020 7921 0943
      email us

      visit our website

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      all events

      Language Shift, collage art

      Free

      Free

      Various times
      26 Jul 2018 - 23 Sep 2018
      Various times | 26 Jul 2018 - 23 Sep 2018
      Literature
      Poetry
      Explore visual artwork that maps poems written in endangered European languages in this exhibition
      Explore visual artwork that maps poems written in endangered European languages in this exhibition
      Print by Mary Kuper

      Free

      Free

      7:30 pm
      Thu 26 Jul 2018
      7:30 pm | Thu 26 Jul 2018
      Art
      Literature
      Witness visual and literary responses to endangered European languages at this exhibition launch
      Witness visual and literary responses to endangered European languages at this exhibition launch
      Skyscraper view
      8:00 pm
      Wed 01 Aug 2018
      8:00 pm | Wed 01 Aug 2018
      Literature
      Poetry
      Walk in the footsteps of the volatile French genius through original poetry and music
      Walk in the footsteps of the volatile French genius through original poetry and music
       Justice for Grenfell demonstration

      Free

      Free

      8:00 pm
      Wed 05 Sep 2018
      8:00 pm | Wed 05 Sep 2018
      Literature
      Poetry
      Bear witness at a poetry reading by contributing writers to the Poems for Grenfell Tower anthology
      Bear witness at a poetry reading by contributing writers to the Poems for Grenfell Tower anthology
      Painted puppets

      Free

      Free

      Various times
      14 Sep 2018 - 14 Dec 2018
      Various times | 14 Sep 2018 - 14 Dec 2018
      Literature
      Poetry
      A short session of nursery rhymes and poems for under-5s and their carers
      A short session of nursery rhymes and poems for under-5s and their carers

      National Poetry Library can be reached step-free by taking the JCB Glass Lift, located on Blue Side of Royal Festival Hall, to Level 5.

      See our access map

      The library provides a free postal service of poetry on cassette and CD to people with sight problems throughout the UK.

      To join this service, please fill out a membership form

      National Poetry Library also has a selection of popular modern poets and anthologies in Braille.

      Search the catalogue

      get in touch

      Tel: 020 7921 0664 or 020 7921 0943

      poetry stories

      story
      Discover what's new with the library’s online presence
      video
      Help us build a collection of poems in languages under threat
      story
      The team at National Poetry Library pick out their Anne Carson must reads

      don't miss

      more about the library