The National Poetry Library

Visit The 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

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

      Find us

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

      The National Poetry Library Website

      The National Poetry Library Twitter

      filter events

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      E.g., 24/06/2017

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      3 Jul 2017

      Taken at the First International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books in Islington Town Hall (1-3 April 1982)

      Free

      Literature
      Poetry
      Various times, 3 Jul 2017
      Join us for a special event on race and poetry at The National Poetry Library

      5 Jul 2017

      Painting - Celebrating Shearsman Books

      Free

      Literature
      Poetry
      8:00 pm, 5 Jul 2017
      Hear authors represented by Shearsman Books read and discuss their work

      2 Aug 2017

      Satellite Image of Hurricane

      Free

      Literature
      Poetry
      8:00 pm, 2 Aug 2017
      Experience a collaboratively written poetic work created in response to the 2016 EU referendum

      13 Sep 2017

      Poet on Stage

      Free

      Gigs
      Electronic
      8:00 pm, 13 Sep 2017
      Innovative theatre exploring the myth, magic and reality of the modern city

      20 Sep 2017

      Literature
      Poetry
      6:00 pm, 20 Sep 2017
      Seek out centuries of poetry hidden in this area of London

      The 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

      The 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

      podcast
      Carolyn Forché explores how poets have been shaped by extreme events

      events & exhibitions

      more about the library