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Modern British and Irish Poetry: events and links

The British Library has hosted many poetry readings and within its Events programme. Poets who have read include: Simon Armitage; Patricia Beer; John Burnside; Brian Catling; Douglas Dunn; Carol Ann Duffy; James Fenton; Seamus Heaney; and Don Paterson. We currently also host the Josephine Hart Poetry Hour.

Poetry is often featured in our exhibitions, with manuscripts of Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Wilfred Owen's "Anthem for Doomed Youth" and other literary manuscripts on display in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery: Treasures of the British Library..

Poetry libraries and information services

General Libraries with Poetry Collections

Poetry Websites


Poetry libraries and information services 

The Little Magazines, Alternative Press and Poetry Store Collections

The Library
University College London
Gower Street

Tel: +44 (0)20 7380 7796

 Extensive holdings from mid-1960s of U.K little magazines, small press and underground publications in particular, and large but less comprehensive holdings of U.S. publications. There is also a selection of magazines and books from the Commonwealth, Europe and other countries and a small collection of reference material either about little magazine and small press activities or of a more general critical or background nature. The library currently subscribes to around 200 little magazine titles. Over 3500 little magazine and alternative press titles are held in all.
The Poetry Library

Level 5
Royal Festival Hall

Tel: +44 (0)20 7921 0943 / 0664

 A twentieth century poetry lending collection and a wide range of current poetry magazines on open display. Also produces updated lists of current UK poetry publishers and little magazines. The Poetry Library website includes a lost quotation discussion group, and digitised poetry magazines.

The Poetry Society

22 Betterton Street

Tel: +44 (0)20 7420 9880
Fax: +44 (0)20 7240 4818

 A membership organisation and not a Library. Publishes Poetry Review, Poetry News, and sponsors various poetry campaigns.
The Scottish Poetry Library

Scottish Poetry Library
5 Crichton's Close

Tel: +44 (0)131 557 2876
Fax: +44 (0)131 557 8393

 The emphasis is on Twentieth and Twenty-first century poetry written in Scotland, in Scots, Gaelic and English. Older Scottish poetry is also to be found, and contemporary works from almost every part of the world.


General libraries with poetry collections 

Many institutions have book and manuscript collections associated with the poetry of the British Isles, including:


Poetry websites 

Apart from the sites associated with the organisations listed above, websites concerned with British poetry include:

Archive of the Now"Innovative contemporary poetry being written or performed in Britain." Part of the Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing, Brunel University.
Arvon FoundationCreative writing courses, including poetry, with centres in Devon, the Highlands of Scotland, Shropshire and West Yorkshire.
Electronic Poetry CenterState University of New York at Buffalo site which "makes available a wide range of resources centred on digital and contemporary formally innovative poetries, new media writing, and literary programming." Includes pages on and links to many British poets
Fine Presses [British Library web page]Information on British fine presses, many of which publish poetry
Little magazines [British Library website] 
LollipopGives details of British small presses and selections of their publications, including many poetry presses
Organisations of Interest to PoetsCompiled by Peter Finch
Oxford Brookes Poetry CentreResearch and discussion related to modern poetry, and a weekly poem e-mail service
The Poetry ArchiveOnline collection of poets reading their own work
The Poetry KitIncludes a regularly updated events guide
Poetry magazinesFull text digitised poetry magazines
Poetry SchoolCreative writing classes and tuition
Ubu webVisual, concrete, and sound poetry