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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

        Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 8pm

        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

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        Rug Rhymes puppet at Southbank Centre

        Free

        Free

        Various times
        13 Sep 2019 - 13 Dec 2019
        Various times | 13 Sep 2019 - 13 Dec 2019
        literature & poetry
        family & young people
        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
        Beyond Imitation drawing
        8:00 pm
        Wed 04 Dec 2019
        8:00 pm | Wed 04 Dec 2019
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        What is poetry’s relationship with art? Find out at this evening of readings and discussion with special guest poets.
        What is poetry’s relationship with art? Find out at this evening of readings and discussion with...
        Photograph of work by Joo Yeon Park

        Free

        Free

        Various times
        5 Dec 2019 - 29 Mar 2020
        Various times | 5 Dec 2019 - 29 Mar 2020
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        Joo Yeon Park’s new exhibition commemorates the 30th anniversary of Samuel Beckett’s death
        Joo Yeon Park’s new exhibition commemorates the 30th anniversary of Samuel Beckett’s death
        SKY GOD and The Repeat Beat Poet
        8:00 pm
        Wed 08 Jan 2020
        8:00 pm | Wed 08 Jan 2020
        gigs
        literature & poetry
        Seven poets from the London open-mic night perform works that flow out of hip-hop and politics
        Seven poets from the London open-mic night perform works that flow out of hip-hop and politics
        6:30 pm
        Mon 20 Jan 2020
        6:30 pm | Mon 20 Jan 2020
        literature & poetry
        poetry
        Share your thoughts on the winner of the 2020 TS Eliot Prize
        Share your thoughts on the winner of the 2020 TS Eliot Prize
        Wiliam Longsdail, painter
        8:00 pm
        Wed 05 Feb 2020
        8:00 pm | Wed 05 Feb 2020
        literature & poetry
        poetry
        For over 200 years, Spanish poets have walked London’s streets - and used them for inspiration
        For over 200 years, Spanish poets have walked London’s streets - and used them for inspiration
        Jacqueline Saphra, poet
        8:00 pm
        Wed 04 Mar 2020
        8:00 pm | Wed 04 Mar 2020
        literature & poetry
        poetry
        Conjure myth, magic, fable and feminism at a reading by leading voices in contemporary poetry
        Conjure myth, magic, fable and feminism at a reading by leading voices in contemporary poetry
        Crossing Boundaries at Southbank Centre
        8:00 pm
        Wed 01 Apr 2020
        8:00 pm | Wed 01 Apr 2020
        literature & poetry
        poetry
        Traverse cultures and languages at a reading from UK-based poets of East Asian heritages and identities
        Traverse cultures and languages at a reading from UK-based poets of East Asian heritages and...

        don't miss

        4 Dec
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        What is poetry’s relationship with art? Find out at this evening of readings and discussion with special guest poets.
        5 Dec - 29 Mar
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        Joo Yeon Park’s new exhibition commemorates the 30th anniversary of Samuel Beckett’s death
        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.

        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