Special Collection

Special Collections

National Poetry Day 2018: Change

National Poetry Day, founded by Forward Arts Foundation in 1994, is an annual celebration that inspires people throughout the UK to enjoy, discover and share poems. Everyone is invited to join in, whether by organising events, displays, competitions or by simply posting favourite lines of poetry on social media using #nationalpoetryday.

The theme of this years National Poetry Day is 'Change'. Below we have created a collection of poems around the theme of change. We hope you enjoy!

Norton Anthology Collection

The Norton Anthology of Poetry has been in existence for almost fifty years, and during that time the way its audience experiences poetry has changed dramatically. Readers now expect to use their ears as much as their eyes when they encounter poetry; hearing poems read out loud deepens both readers’ enjoyment and their understanding.  
For the new, sixth edition of the anthology, Norton has teamed up with The Poetry Archive, this popular UK-based website dedicated to recording poets reading their own work. Together, they have gathered existing Archive recordings of selections that appear in the anthology, and added new recordings of older poems, to create a rich acoustic line-up of poems from across the anthology.  
The result does more than simply confirm the anthology’s reputation as an invaluable teaching tool for instructors, and a book that students want to keep long after their courses end. Listening to the poems being read adds a fascinating human element to the experience, prompting questions such as What do the poets sound like? What are their accents? How quickly or slowly do they read? What do their pauses signify? At the same time, dipping into this gathering of recordings confirms by means of new technology an ancient truth: that we understand and appreciate poetry as much by paying attention to sounds as we do by comprehending sense. This is what Robert Frost meant when he said, "The ear does it. The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader."

- Sir Andrew Motion, Poetry Archive Co-Founder.

The Poetry Archive website contains recordings of over 150 poems that appear in The Norton Anthology of Poetry. A sampling of those poems is provided below. To explore the full list, click here

Further information on The Norton Anthology of Poetry, including a full table of contents and ordering information, is available here

T. S. Eliot Prize Winners’ Archive

Welcome to the T. S. Eliot Prize Winners’ Archive. The premier Prize in poetry, the T. S. Eliot Prize was inaugurated in 1993 and is awarded annually to the best new collection of poetry in English published in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. In a new collaboration between the T. S. Eliot Foundation and the Poetry Archive, the T. S. Eliot Prize Winners' Archive presents a celebration of 25 years of the finest poetry collections.

From 2018 each winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize will be inducted into the Poetry Archive and will join this unique collection, where each poet's voice is preserved and made available for you to enjoy.

Listen to the work of T. S. Eliot Prize-winning poets here.

National Poetry Day: Freedom

National Poetry Day was founded in 1994 by the charity Forward Arts Foundation, whose mission is to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience

National Poetry Day is an annual celebration that inspires people throughout the UK to enjoy, discover and share poems. Everyone is invited to join in, whether by organising events, displays, competitions or by simply posting favourite lines of poetry on social media using #nationalpoetryday.

For 2017, the theme for National Poetry Day is ‘Freedom’, so to celebrate the day we have put together a range of poems that are around the theme of or invoke feelings of freedom. Listen, explore and enjoy below.

Listen to the land

Foreword by Sir Andrew Motion

These fine poems, written at different times and from a variety of perspectives, all look hard at the landscapes they enshrine. In doing so, they achieve (at least) two things at the same time. They honour the facts they preserve; and they create little screens on which are projected the feelings of the poets. They are, in other words, all forms of emotional observance. This sort of activity, and the combinations that it includes, has been central to poetry in all parts of the world for a very long time. But as these lines remind us, it has never been more important. Obliquely or urgently, quietly or loudly, all these poems give voice to the deep pleasure we find in landscape, and also to the reasons why we need to protect it. In this respect, we might well call them seriously beautiful.

A tour of the Archive with Rachel Smith

Visiting the Poetry Archive feels like browsing through your favourite bookshop and finding that all the books are...

Featured Guided Tours

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.