The Poetry Archive

Listen to the world’s best poetry read out loud

What is the Poetry Archive?

The Poetry Archive is the only charity wholly dedicated to the production, acquisition and preservation of recordings of significant poets reading their work aloud.

We care for and preserve these uniquely valuable voices, which might otherwise be lost, so that future generations can continue to enjoy them. We make our own recordings and poets also donate copies of their own archives to us so we can look after them in the long term. Hearing how a poet speaks their own poems brings us a deeper level of understanding and enjoyment of the work and provides a rich resource for poetry lovers, explorers, teachers and students of all ages. We have a fundamental belief that poetry is for everyone so, as a charity, the funds we raise are used to record new poets and keep sharing these wonderful collections free-of-charge with you.

Poetry Archive Now! Poems for 2020 launches April 10th 2020

Calling all poets to record one poem for 2020 to be preserved in the Archive. Simon Armitage leads the way with ‘Lockdown’. Open for submissions on April 10th 2020.

This is the 20th anniversary of our first Archive recording! We are opening up to all poets to join the Archive and share your work with the millions of people who visit and love our collections.  Times are changing quickly and with our live recording programme necessarily suspended, we wanted to find new ways to include poets and record and preserve poetry to make it available to listeners who need it now more than ever. We want to reflect the strength and diversity of poetry written in this extraordinary year and preserve it for future generations to reach.

From April 10th to September 10th 2020 we are opening up our archives to all poets, asking that they make a video/film recording of themselves reading or reciting a single poem  – for example through their phones or through social media ‘live’ platforms – and send their recording to us. From April 10th onwards we will begin publishing the poems to our new Poetry Archive YouTube channel where the millions of people who visit the Poetry Archive each year can hear them and know the poets who created them.  In September 2020, a panel led by Imtiaz Dharker will select their 20 favourite entries for an Archive Collection for 2020 to be celebrated on our website.

For further details please visit:


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