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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

      follow on Twitter

      all events

      Painted puppets

      Free

      Free

      Various times
      until 14 Dec 2018
      Various times | until 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
      Illustration by Nury R. Melgarejo

      Free

      Free

      8:00 pm
      Wed 03 Oct 2018
      8:00 pm | Wed 03 Oct 2018
      Literature
      Spoken word & Live literature
      What kind of difference does poetry make?
      What kind of difference does poetry make?
      W.S. Graham photo with a painted face on the wall

      Free

      Free

      7:30 pm
      Thu 18 Oct 2018
      7:30 pm | Thu 18 Oct 2018
      Art
      Literature
      Hear contemporary responses to poet WS Graham at the launch of an exhibition on his work
      Hear contemporary responses to poet WS Graham at the launch of an exhibition on his work
      Paining by W.S. Graham

      Free

      Free

      Various times
      19 Oct 2018 - 31 Mar 2019
      Various times | 19 Oct 2018 - 31 Mar 2019
      Art
      Literature
      Make room for creativity at an interactive reconstruction of poet WS Graham’s creative space
      Make room for creativity at an interactive reconstruction of poet WS Graham’s creative space
      Poetic Odysseys

      Free

      Free

      8:00 pm
      Sun 21 Oct 2018
      8:00 pm | Sun 21 Oct 2018
      Literature
      Spoken word & Live literature
      Poets Keith Jarrett and Greta Bellamacina present new work on the theme of odysseys
      Poets Keith Jarrett and Greta Bellamacina present new work on the theme of odysseys
      Harlem house

      Free

      Free

      6:30 pm
      Mon 22 Oct 2018
      6:30 pm | Mon 22 Oct 2018
      Literature
      Poetry
      Discover the lyrical poetry that emerged from the African American art scene in 1920s New York
      Discover the lyrical poetry that emerged from the African American art scene in 1920s New York
      Nujoom Alghanem, Emirati poet

      Free

      Free

      8:00 pm
      Wed 24 Oct 2018
      8:00 pm | Wed 24 Oct 2018
      Literature
      Poetry
      Much-lauded Emirati poets Nujoom Alghanem, Ali Al Shaali & Maryam Mahyoh read their work
      Much-lauded Emirati poets Nujoom Alghanem, Ali Al Shaali & Maryam Mahyoh read their work
      No Enemies, artwork by Hijklm Nopqrst Co

      Free

      Free

      8:00 pm
      Wed 07 Nov 2018
      8:00 pm | Wed 07 Nov 2018
      Literature
      Poetry
      Uncover the poetic work of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and his widow Liu Xia
      Uncover the poetic work of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and his widow Liu Xia

      don't miss

      21 Oct
      Literature
      Poetry
      Set off on a journey into the heart of modern poetry at our open day on the theme of odysseys

      Poetic Odysseys

      Image Credit 
      Harpreet Kalsi
      Poetic Odysseys
      21 Oct
      Literature
      Spoken word & Live literature
      Poets Keith Jarrett and Greta Bellamacina present new work on the theme of odysseys
      see all events

      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 works from this groundbreaking National Poetry Library exhibition
      story
      The team at National Poetry Library pick out their Anne Carson must reads

      more about the library