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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 – for free.

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 TS 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

        We'll be closed for a while but look forward to welcoming you back soon

        Find us

        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

        Readers in The Clore Ballroom, Southbank Centre

        Free

        Free

        Various times
        23 Mar 2020 - 4 May 2020
        Various times | 23 Mar 2020 - 4 May 2020
        courses & workshops
        poetry
        Explore the power of words on a nine-week creative writing course for people living with dementia
        Explore the power of words on a nine-week creative writing course for people living with dementia
        Poets reading

        Free

        Free

        8:00 pm
        Wed 08 Apr 2020
        8:00 pm | Wed 08 Apr 2020
        literature & poetry
        poetry
        German and British concrete poets come together to celebrate the movement's influence on today's poets
        German and British concrete poets come together to celebrate the movement's influence on...
        Children at poetry workshop

        Free

        Free

        Various times
        17 Jan 2020 - 10 Jul 2020
        Various times | 17 Jan 2020 - 10 Jul 2020
        family & young people
        poetry
        Find your spot on the poem rug for a short session of nursery rhymes and poems for under-5s
        Find your spot on the poem rug for a short session of nursery rhymes and poems for under-5s
        Foggy Lake Landscape
        6:30 pm
        Mon 27 Apr 2020
        6:30 pm | Mon 27 Apr 2020
        literature & poetry
        poetry
        Delve into the works of the poet who gave voice to the River Dart at National Poetry Library Book Club
        Delve into the works of the poet who gave voice to the River Dart at National Poetry Library Book...

        Free

        Free

        7:30 pm
        Wed 29 Apr 2020
        7:30 pm | Wed 29 Apr 2020
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        Raise a glass to one of the most imaginative poets of the past decades at the launch of our exhibition
        Raise a glass to one of the most imaginative poets of the past decades at the launch of our...
        scrapbook

        Free

        Free

        Various times
        30 Apr 2020 - 23 Aug 2020
        Various times | 30 Apr 2020 - 23 Aug 2020
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        Mark the centenary of the Scottish poet at an exhibition focused on his visual poetry and his life
        Mark the centenary of the Scottish poet at an exhibition focused on his visual poetry and his life
        8:00 pm
        Wed 06 May 2020
        8:00 pm | Wed 06 May 2020
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        From handwritten Jenga blocks to interactive puzzles, what makes an object a poem?
        From handwritten Jenga blocks to interactive puzzles, what makes an object a poem?
        Alice Notley, poet
        8:00 pm
        Tue 12 May 2020
        8:00 pm | Tue 12 May 2020
        literature & poetry
        poetry
        One of America's most compelling and visionary poets reads from her genre-defying works
        One of America's most compelling and visionary poets reads from her genre-defying works

        Free

        Free

        8:00 pm
        Wed 03 Jun 2020
        8:00 pm | Wed 03 Jun 2020
        literature & poetry
        poetry
        Packed with wit, energy and heartache, it's a new anthology of Ethiopian Amharic poetry in English
        Packed with wit, energy and heartache, it's a new anthology of Ethiopian Amharic poetry in...
        6:30 pm
        Mon 13 Jul 2020
        6:30 pm | Mon 13 Jul 2020
        literature & poetry
        poetry
        Playful and profound, innovative and humane, poet Edwin Morgan’s work comes alive at our book club
        Playful and profound, innovative and humane, poet Edwin Morgan’s work comes alive at our book club

        Pages

        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.

        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 or send us an email

        poetry stories

        story
        The poet on the importance of Picasso’s work and the challenge of responding to it
        story
        Find out which poets have made this year’s shortlist

        more about the library