Special Collection

Special Collections

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.


Poetry Archive: Scotland

This Special Collection brings together some of the recordings we’ve made over the years with poets from Scotland. Edwin Morgan recorded his reading for the Archive in his flat in Glasgow back in 2000, Douglas Dunn made his Archive recording in 2007, and Imtiaz Dharker came into our studio in 2010. In 2016 and 2017, funding from Creative Scotland has allowed us to extend the range of the work we can offer by poets from Scotland by inviting Anna Crowe, Christine De Luca, David Kinloch, Tom Pow and others to read their work for us.

We hope you will enjoy listening to this selection of poems written by Scottish poets. Each of the poet’s names below will also lead you to a full page about them and more examples of their work. And we’ll be adding more great Scottish voices as we record them.


National Memory Day Collection

National Memory Day is an annual celebration of poetry and creative writing for people affected by memory loss. National Memory Day raises awareness of the challenges for families, carers and those living with memory loss face and raises funds to support Poetry workshops which explore memory through a year-round poetry programme.

We have created this collection of our favourite poems about memory and about individual memories together with poems that are fun to remember. We hope you listen and enjoy with loved ones and we hope they trigger some lovely memories for you.

National Memory Day is a joint initiative led by Literature Works in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, Plymouth University and The Poetry Archive. If you would like to learn more about National Memory Day or how you can get involved please visit the website.


Classic Collection

Sykes Cottages offer the finest handpicked cottage holidays across the UK and Ireland. They have teamed up with us to create this collection of some of the finest classic poets from across UK and Ireland.

The poets in this collection were inspired by, not only emotions and feelings like love and loss, but also by the nature and landscapes of the British and Irish countryside’s. From Housman’s description of the trees of Wenlock Edge to Keats’ depiction of Autumn.  We hope you’ll listen and enjoy these poems and use them as inspiration to get out and explore the countryside for yourself.

Visit the Sykes Cottage website to view their selection of cottages.


Writing Places

The recordings in this collection were all made as part of the Writing Places project. This project allowed us to work in partnership with Literature Works, who created the project, The National Trust.

Writing Places was designed to celebrate literature and its place in our history. As part of the literary and heritage project, the Archive made recordings to be used in former writers homes cared for by the National Trust in the South West. Including Max Gate and Coleridge Cottage, homes of Thomas Hardy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

To learn more about the full Writing Places programme visit the website here.


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.