The National Poetry Library is the largest public collection of modern poetry in the world.
Founded by the Arts Council in 1953 and opened by poets T.S. Eliot and Herbert Read, we have been at the heart of the nation’s poetry community ever since.
Due to its ever-growing collections, the library has had several homes, arriving at Southbank Centre in 1988 when Seamus Heaney led a cake-cutting ceremony to mark its opening.
The National Poetry Library has been a place of inspiration and support for many esteemed poets and writers throughout its history.
Former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes wrote of his experience when researching the influential anthology Rattle Bag, which he co-edited with Seamus Heaney.
Philip Larkin, with perhaps uncharacteristic magnanimity, also spoke fondly of the collection:
The National Poetry Library has nurtured generations of talented and much-loved poets and plans to do the same for years to come.