Poet laureate outlines plans for National Poetry Centre in Leeds

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The poet laureate Simon Armitage has laid out his plans for a National Poetry Centre in Leeds. He intends it to be a public space with an extensive poetry collection, several rehearsal and performances spaces, and a cafe, where literary events can be held. It is supported by Leeds city council, the University of Leeds and Leeds 2023 – a year-long celebration of arts and culture in the city. Armitage, who grew up in the West Yorkshire village of Marsden and is also the professor of poetry at the University of Leeds, told the Guardian that poetry needs a home in the UK,  and that he hoped it would be “a place where poets can borrow or buy books, perform readings, showcase their work, get on with their writing, teach, eat, drink, debate, argue, research, host classes, organise conferences, publish magazines, access the internet and run workshops”.

Work is now going on to identify a site and secure funding. Leeds 2023 creative director Kully Thiarai said it was hoped the new centre woujld open in time for the city’s celebrations in three years.Armitage - pictured in  his robes as professor of poetry at Leeds - said he believes the centre needs to be outside London. He described Leeds as an ideal location, being “accessible, central, dynamic, contemporary, future-minded, people-oriented, community-aware and committed to cultural regeneration”.




Background: Poet laureate drawn back to home village 





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Russell Thompson

Mon 16th Mar 2020 12:00

Thanks for clarifying, Greg. Seems I'm behind on the news!

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Greg Freeman

Thu 12th Mar 2020 10:58

Indeed, Russell. But it's been re-located to share half of a tourist shop, and is a sad shadow of its former self, I'm told. The news about Manchester Poetry Library is exciting and evidence of the growing role of poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/poetrylibrary/ The Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh has a regular programme of events. Newcastle University is stuffed with leading poetry figures, and runs an annual poetry festival. The Poetry Book Society has also re-located to the north-east, which is also the home of the wonderful Bloodaxe, of course.

Russell Thompson

Wed 11th Mar 2020 13:54

Respect also due to the Northern Poetry Library at Morpeth, I think.

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Andy N

Tue 10th Mar 2020 12:32

good luck to them. I know Manchester has a poetry library opening up later on this year but I want to see this in every City and town over the next few days. So many good poetry opportunities and venues in the North West alone, Poetry is clearly going through a purple patch. More please (:

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Greg Freeman

Sat 29th Feb 2020 00:15

You bloody southerner, Rodney! Don't you know it's all about 'levelling up' nowadays?

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Rodney Wood

Fri 28th Feb 2020 18:48

What do you mean "poetry needs a home" what about the Poetry Society and Library in London?

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