art & exhibitions
literature & poetry

Constructing Spaces

Enter the creative space WS Graham used to write his poetry in a reconstruction of his Cornish cottage, in an exhibition celebrating his centenary year.

Down to the last detail, this reconstruction brings together Graham's library, his original writing desk, and manuscript copies of his poems in the bohemian environment he worked from. The National Poetry Library’s exhibition reflects on what makes a space 'creative' and how, in turn, these spaces shape our creativity.

Taking a cue from Graham's writing process of using words like the St Ives painters, you have the chance to create your own works using both text and paint together. Use the exhibition as your own creative space by interacting with the typewriter, bookshelf, his notes and other materials on display and produce your own contributions of written or visual poetry.

Graham (1918 – 1986) was not widely read in his lifetime, despite being lauded by fellow writers including Pinter and TS Eliot. His 1954 long poem ‘The Nightfishing’ is considered to be his breakthrough work, which he further developed into his signature style in ‘Malcolm Mooney's Land’ (1970) and ‘Implements in their Places’ (1977).

Originally from a working-class family from Clydeside, Scotland, Graham had trained as an engineer before moving to Cornwall where he spent his entire adult life. Graham developed a close relationship with many of the St Ives painters, including Roger Hilton, Bryan Winter and Peter Lanyon.

Dates & times

This event has passed.


National Poetry Library,

Level 5, Blue side, Royal Festival Hall


Free, but ticketed