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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

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        Guernica Remakings at Southbank Centre

        Free

        Free

        Various times
        26 Jul 2019 - 22 Sep 2019
        Various times | 26 Jul 2019 - 22 Sep 2019
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        Picasso's anti-war masterpiece is seen anew in a multimedia exhibition curated by Nicola Ashmore
        Picasso's anti-war masterpiece is seen anew in a multimedia exhibition curated by Nicola...
        Guernica Remakings at Southbank Centre

        Free

        Free

        7:30 pm
        Wed 31 Jul 2019
        7:30 pm | Wed 31 Jul 2019
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        Raise a glass at the opening of a new exhibition of works responding to Picasso’s anti-war masterpiece
        Raise a glass at the opening of a new exhibition of works responding to Picasso’s anti-war...

        Free

        Free

        Various times
        16 Oct 2019 - 17 Nov 2019
        Various times | 16 Oct 2019 - 17 Nov 2019
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        Toast to Beat poet, painter and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 100th birthday at this exhibition
        Toast to Beat poet, painter and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 100th birthday at this...
        Image of books

        Free

        Free

        7:30 pm
        Wed 16 Oct 2019
        7:30 pm | Wed 16 Oct 2019
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        Raise a glass to artist Lawrence Ferlinghetti in his 100th year at this exhibition launch
        Raise a glass to artist Lawrence Ferlinghetti in his 100th year at this exhibition launch
        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...

        don't miss

        26 Jul - 22 Sep
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        Picasso's anti-war masterpiece is seen anew in a multimedia exhibition curated by Nicola Ashmore
        7 Aug
        literature & poetry
        poetry
        From the French: the poet, comedian and musician John Hegley reflects on his Gallic roots
        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
        The founder of Out-Spoken discusses his journey through poetry in this in-depth interview
        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