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The Poetry Archive 2008


The Poetry Archive was launched in 2005 to record living poets for posterity and to bring poetry to a wider audience. It has worked systematically to record poets’ reading their own work and to make these recordings available though its website.   The Archive believes that poets’ own readings of their work offer a powerful source of insight, understanding and enjoyment.

Recently Derek Walcott has become the 100th poet to join what co-director UK Poet Laureate Andrew Motion calls 'the world's most remarkable online collection of poets reading their own work: a treasure house of information, insight and pleasure'. The Archive’s CD backlist includes work from Margaret Atwood, Charles Causley, Wendy Cope, Seamus Heaney, Jackie Kay, Christopher Logue, Edwin Morgan, Sean O’Brien, Don Paterson and Michael Rosen, to name just a few.

There is also a dedicated Children’s Archive section of the site, edited by poet Jean Sprackland, featuring children’s poetry from Roald Dahl, Spike Milligan and others.

Visitors to the site can listen to a host of excellent recordings from the great poets of today. There are also useful biographies and listings of their publications. Those wishing to buy the hour-long recordings on CD can do so from the Poetry Book Society’s online poetry bookshop, where there is a complete listing of what is available.

Last month the Poetry Archive added 14 major 20th-century American poets to its growing online audio archive with the launch of the Poetry Across the Atlantic project. A transatlantic collaboration between the Poetry Archive and the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, this project gives poetry lovers a unique opportunity to discover and listen to some of the most celebrated American poets for free. When completed, the project will consist of over 100 essential American poets reading their own work.

The Poetry Archive is now getting 125,000 visitors a month, showing that there is a large audience which wants to hear poets reading their own work. If you have not yet discovered this wonderful site, now is the time to have a look.

The Poetry Archive