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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

        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
        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
        Poetic Odysseys, photograph by Harpreet Kalsi

        Free

        Free

        8:00 pm
        Sun 21 Oct 2018
        8:00 pm | Sun 21 Oct 2018
        Literature
        Poetry
        Poets A.K. Blakemore, Greta Bellamacina and Keith Jarrett present new work on the theme of odysseys
        Poets A.K. Blakemore, Greta Bellamacina and Keith Jarrett 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
        Spoken word & Live literature
        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

        Free

        Free

        Various times
        3 Dec 2018 - 10 Dec 2018
        Various times | 3 Dec 2018 - 10 Dec 2018
        Literature
        Poetry
        Discuss the ten poetry books shortlisted for this year’s prestigious TS Eliot Prize
        Discuss the ten poetry books shortlisted for this year’s prestigious TS Eliot Prize
        Valts Ernstreits, poet

        Free

        Free

        8:00 pm
        Wed 05 Dec 2018
        8:00 pm | Wed 05 Dec 2018
        Literature
        Poetry
        Consider how poetry can preserve language and culture at a reading and Q&A session
        Consider how poetry can preserve language and culture at a reading and Q&A session
        Night photo of  Simpang Semanggi, Jakarta

        Free

        Free

        8:00 pm
        Thu 14 Mar 2019
        8:00 pm | Thu 14 Mar 2019
        Literature
        Poetry
        Venture beyond the pantun with this line-up of celebrated Indonesian poets
        Venture beyond the pantun with this line-up of celebrated Indonesian poets

        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
        21 Oct
        Literature
        Poetry
        Poets A.K. Blakemore, Greta Bellamacina and Keith Jarrett 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