Here are some questions you may want to ask us. If your question isn't here, please contact us and we will do our best to respond. Choose from the following categories:


Poets and recordings

How do you choose the poets who are included in the Archive?
Poets are chosen by a Selection Panel, chaired by Andrew Motion. All published poets who write in English are eligible to be invited to make a recording for the Archive. If you would like to suggest a poet to be added to the Archive, please use our Missing Voices pages. All enquires are read but we cannot promise to send individual replies.

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How much does each poet record for the Archive and who chooses the poems each poet records?
Poets themselves choose the work they record for the Archive. Each poet is invited to record a reading lasting about an hour. Between seven and ten minutes of each recording can be heard here, free of charge. You can buy each poet?s full-length recording in the Poetry Bookshop Online.

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Will you add more recordings to the Archive?
Yes, there are many more poets we want to record and the Poetry Archive will continue to grow in the future. Also, every few years we plan to go back to the poets we have already recorded and invite them to record their recent work for the Archive. Back to top

Can I suggest poets I'd like the Archive to record?
We are keen to hear your suggestions about who else we might record. Please go to Missing voices to find out how you can help us ensure the Archive is as comprehensive as possible.

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Can I send my poetry to the Archive?
Unfortunately, we cannot offer an advisory service for your poetry. However, there are other places where you can get advice. For more information, see our Links page.

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Poetry Archive organisation and funding

Who runs the Poetry Archive?
The Archive's two Directors are former UK Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, and the recording producer, Richard Carrington. To read more about the project see About Us.

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How is The Poetry Archive funded?
The Poetry Archive is a not-for-profit organisation with charitable status. We rely on the support and generosity of public bodies, charitable trusts and private individuals. Please visit our Benefactors page to see who our supporters are and the Support the Poetry Archive page if you would like to help the Archive continue its work. The Archive is partly funded by CD sales, so every purchase of a recording helps us afford to make more recordings.

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Can I make my own copies of recordings and texts of poems from the Archive?
The Poetry Archive operates under a strict copyright agreement, which does not allow any reproduction of the audio or text featured on the site. For a comprehensive guide to this issue, please see our Terms and Conditions.

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Finding poems and poets

I'm looking for a poem to mark a special occasion. Can you help me?
Many people turn to poetry at important moments in their lives. A poem can be a solace in times of grief and can help you celebrate happy events. See the themes page to search for poems by theme, such as birth, love, marriage and death.

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I'm trying to find a poem I heard years ago, but I can't remember the title or the poet's name. Can you help?
We can't guarantee that the poem you're looking for is in the Archive but it might be – so try our themed search. Go to the themes page and look for a theme that fits the poem you're trying to remember.

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We'd like to invite a poet into our school. How should we go about it?
Many of the poets in the Archive make visits to schools to work with pupils and teachers. For more information, read our Invite a Poet page.

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Using MyArchive

I would like to delete my account how do I do that?
If you would like your MyArchive account to be deleted please contact us at and we will remove your account and confirm when this has been done.

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I'm having problems logging in to MyArchive. Am I doing anything wrong?
If you've already registered with us, you need to use the same email address and password you originally used. If you're still having problems, request your password using the 'Forgotten Password' link and try logging in again.

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How do I create a new list in MyArchive?
Creating a list is easy to do. Wherever you see a poem or a poet, you'll see an 'Add to MyArchive' button. Click this and follow the steps to create a new list in MyArchive.

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I've created a MyArchive list. How do I share it?
Click on the MyArchive link to be taken to your MyArchive page. Once there, you'll see a button that enables you to share your list. Clicking this will give you a website address that you can then copy and paste into an email.

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I'd like to make some changes to MyArchive lists. How do I edit them?
Login to your MyArchive page so you can view your lists. Next to each list is an Edit button. Click on this and you'll be able to delete any poets or poems from your lists or add to the notes you've already written.

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I’d like my MyArchive list to include a link to a page outside the Poetry Archive website. Is that possible?
You can use the ‘Add external link’ function to add this type of link. To do that, go to your list within MyArchive and scroll to the bottom of it. Below the items you have already added, you will see ‘Add external link’: click that link and fill in the information you’re asked for in the pop up - the name you’d like the link to have in your list, your description of the link and the URL of the link itself (please make sure to add the link in full - e.g. The link you’ve added will appear at the bottom of your list as the last item added.

If you’d prefer to include a link to an external site within any of the notes you're making about an item on your list, that’s also easy to do. When you're editing your list, go to the appropriate section of it and type in the title you’d like to give to an external link; highlight that title and then click the ‘Edit/insert link’ icon in the edit bar. Then paste the link's URL into the appropriate field in the pop-up (again, remembering to include the link in full - e.g. You can also choose whether you’d like the link open in a new browser window or in the same window you’re already using.


On my screen, the site doesn't seem to look the way it's meant to. What can I do about that?

The site supports all modern browsers: IE9 and above, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera. If you're having problems viewing the site, please contact us describing the problem, and tell us which browser and operating-system versions you are using.

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I’d like to increase the text size to make it easier to read. How can I do that?
You can change the size of the font by using standard browser settings. Different browsers may require slightly different steps. For Internet Explorer, choose View from the top navigation bar and then Text Size/Larger or Largest. For Firefox and Netscape, the steps are View/Text Size/Increase. For Opera: View/Zoom/and then select the increased percentage value. For Safari: View/Make Text Bigger.

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I can't find my purchases?

All the information you need to access your downloads is contained on an email you will automatically receive upon purchase. If you are already signed in then you will be able to access your downloads straight away on the site. If not, you will need to login using the password set up for you automatically which is stated in your email purchase receipt. Then you will need to log in to access your downloads. Purchase history will be automatically saved in your MyArchive account.

If you are having trouble logging into the website, try using the start of your email adress as the username, without the @... part along with your usual password and this might resolve the issue. Alternatively if you know your username but you do not know the password to your account, you can reset it using the following page -

If you accidentally made a mistake when typing your email address in the purchase process please contact us and we will be able to give you a new password.

For any questions relating to the download store please contact us at - this email address is checked during week days and we endeavour to reply to people as soon as possible.

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I haven't received my emails?

Emails can sometimes get blocked by spam and junk filters. If you do not receive your email receipt please check your junk emails folder as it may have been filtered into there.

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Mobiles and Tablets

I'm having dificulty using the website on my mobile or tablet device.

Unfortunately, the website is not mbile or tablet optimised at the moment. Ths is on our list of prioities when funding permits. Until then we can only apologise that the experience of the Archive is not as good on a mobile or tablet device. 

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I'm having trouble opening my downloads on a mobile or tablet device.

The download albums on the website can sometimes be downloaded in a .zip folder format. To open this type of files on a tablet such as an ipad you will need to download an app to allow you to open .zip folders and decompress the files. Once you have done so the audio files will be in indivudal mp3 files and therefore should allow you to play each poem as you would a normal track. 

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Enjoy new recordings of classic poems from the past read by contemporary poets

When I am Dead, my...

Christina Rossetti

read by Helen Dunmore

Love in a Life

Robert Browning

read by Anthony Thwaite

The Poetry Archive’s vision is to acquire and make recordings of contemporary English-language poets reading their own work, collect and preserve recordings of great poets from the past, and make extracts from all these recordings available free of charge.