Special Collection

Special Collections


This poetry collection, brings together a selection of classic poems intended to help you briefly escape day to day life. We've selected poems that conjure up images of the Great British countryside, rolling landscapes and calming seas, as well as poems that describe the beauty of relaxation and nature.

This collection is sponsored by our partners Darwin Escapes. Darwin Escapes offers 16 handpicked locations to choose from offering everything from short brekas to holiday homes to own. To find out more visit their website.

Mother's Day Poetry

Our Mother's Day Poetry Collection is different to others you may come across as it isn’t focused on poems specifically intended for your mother. What we have done is put together an ensemble of poems inspired by mothers.

Amongst these recordings there are poems featuring a wide range of sentiments for and about mothers. From the memory of things that have surrounded them, as in 'Handbag' by Ruth Fainlight, which reads "My mother's old leather handbag, / crowded with letters she carried / all through the war." To appreciation, as in 'Praise Song for my Mother' by Grace Nichols "You were / water to me / deep and bold and fathoming". The collection features many of the key themes and emotions that you may expect when thinking about your mother.

If you would like to show a special appreciation to your mother, why not dedicate one of these poems to her especially? Learn how to do that here. 


World War Poetry Showcase

The Poetry Archive's World War Poetry Showcase is based on the collection put together for our national poetry recitation competition, Poetry by Heart, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Of course there are plenty of anthologies of First World War poetry. This one is different in that it contains an unusually wide range of voices - some widely celebrated, some much less well-known; some from Britain, some from Germany and elsewhere; some men and some women; some speaking from the trenches, some from behind the lines or at home; some describing the heat of battle, some reflecting on the conflict from later in the century.

Taken all together, they create an extraordinary kind of witness – harrowing as well as humbling and heartening; they present the war as a devastating moment in history, and remind us that its resonances never end.

To view the full Poetry by Heart anthology, click here.

Classic Love Collection

Poets have always written poems about love. We have put together a collection of recordings of some of the best classic love poems, introduced and read for you by today’s poets. From Elizabeth Barrett Browning asking "How do I love thee?" to Lord Byron declaring "She walks in beauty like the night", these poems are all about that universal theme of love. 

Share this collection with the one you love on Twitter or Facebook. Download the Classic Love Collection as a gift for that special someone or, even better, profess your love by Sponsoring a Poem in dedication to your significant other. If you're feeling especially brave, you could use this collection as inspiration to pen your own verses. Who says romance is dead!

Spread the love with The Poetry Archive.

Shakespeare 400

As part of the Shakespeare Lives in 2016 programme, celebrating the work of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death, the British Council has supported The Poetry Archive to enable us to record and present the Shakespeare 400 Collection.

The Shakespeare 400 Collection contains recordings of twenty sonnets read by ten major poets. Each poet has chosen a favourite sonnet by Shakespeare and, inspired by that sonnet, has written a new sonnet of their own.

These new sonnets are included in a new Bloomsbury anthology, 'On Shakespeare's Sonnets - A Poets' Celebration', published in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature and Kings College London. The book contains 30 Shakespeare sonnets and new sonnets by thirty poets.

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.