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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 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

        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

        Readers in The Clore Ballroom, Southbank Centre

        Free

        Free

        10:00 am
        Mon 25 Feb 2019
        10:00 am | Mon 25 Feb 2019
        Literature
        Poetry
        Feel the power of words at a nine-week creative writing programme for people with dementia
        Feel the power of words at a nine-week creative writing programme for people with dementia
        Drawing of Women
        8:00 pm
        Wed 06 Mar 2019
        8:00 pm | Wed 06 Mar 2019
        Literature
        Poetry
        Explore, experiment, celebrate difference and make noise with the all-women’s sound and performance collective
        Explore, experiment, celebrate difference and make noise with the all-women’s sound and...
        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
        WS Graham, poet

        Free

        Free

        6:30 pm
        Mon 25 Mar 2019
        6:30 pm | Mon 25 Mar 2019
        Literature
        Poetry
        Uncover the work of Scottish poet WS Graham at National Poetry Library's spring book club
        Uncover the work of Scottish poet WS Graham at National Poetry Library's spring book club
        Image credit Barrie Tullett

        Free

        Free

        Various times
        30 Apr 2019 - 30 Jun 2019
        Various times | 30 Apr 2019 - 30 Jun 2019
        Art
        Literature
        Journey to Paradise with artist Barrie Tullett in an exhibition responding to the Divine Comedy
        Journey to Paradise with artist Barrie Tullett in an exhibition responding to the Divine Comedy
         Ten Years of Long Poem Magazine

        Free

        Free

        8:00 pm
        Wed 03 Apr 2019
        8:00 pm | Wed 03 Apr 2019
        Literature
        Poetry
        Celebrate the magazine's 10th birthday with editors Linda Black and Claire Crowther and guest poets
        Celebrate the magazine's 10th birthday with editors Linda Black and Claire Crowther and guest...
        Image credit Barrie Tullett

        Free

        Free

        7:30 pm
        Tue 30 Apr 2019
        7:30 pm | Tue 30 Apr 2019
        Art
        Literature
        See the Divine Comedy anew at the launch of Barrie Tullett's exhibition responding to the epic poem
        See the Divine Comedy anew at the launch of Barrie Tullett's exhibition responding to the epic...
        Bang Said The Gun, poet on stage with a Mic
        8:00 pm
        Wed 08 May 2019
        8:00 pm | Wed 08 May 2019
        Literature
        Poetry
        Like mud wrestling, only with words: the stand-up poetry night that's an antidote to dreary poetry
        Like mud wrestling, only with words: the stand-up poetry night that's an antidote to dreary...
        8:00 pm
        Wed 05 Jun 2019
        8:00 pm | Wed 05 Jun 2019
        Literature
        Spoken word & Live literature
        Poets Kate Davis, Abi Palmer and Meryl Pugh reflect on gender, disability, place and the body
        Poets Kate Davis, Abi Palmer and Meryl Pugh reflect on gender, disability, place and the body
        Kayo Chingonyi, poet

        Free

        Free

        8:00 pm
        Wed 03 Jul 2019
        8:00 pm | Wed 03 Jul 2019
        Literature
        Poetry
        Hear the freshest voices in contemporary poetry read from their new pamphlets
        Hear the freshest voices in contemporary poetry read from their new pamphlets

        Pages

        don't miss

        19 Oct - 31 Mar
        Art
        Literature
        Make room for creativity at an interactive reconstruction of poet WS Graham’s creative space
        27 Feb
        Literature
        Spoken word & Live literature
        Our new series of poetry salons begins, with poets Hannah Lowe and MacGillivray
        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 or send us an email

        poetry stories

        story
        Celebrating the great Scottish poet's centenary year
        video
        Help us build a collection of poems in languages under threat
        story
        Discover works from this groundbreaking National Poetry Library exhibition

        more about the library