News | Poetry Archive callout asks poets for home video readings during lockdown

Simon Armitage launches the project with a recording of his poem ‘Lockdown’ made in his garden

For the 20th anniversary of the Poetry Archive’s first poetry recording, with their live recording programme necessarily suspended, the Poetry Archive is finding new ways to include poets so they can ‘preserve the poetry which records this extraordinary year’.

From April 10th to September 10th 2020, the organisation is opening up their archives to all poets, asking that they make a video of themselves reading or reciting a single poem – for example, ‘through their phones or through social media “live” platforms’ – then send them the recording.

Performances are to be published on their new Poetry Archive YouTube channel, where visitors around the world can hear these poems and find out more about the poets who created them. At the close of the callout, a panel led by Imtiaz Dhaker will select their favourite poems to appear in the Poetry Archive WordView 2020 Collection to be celebrated on our website.

Through the year the Poetry Archive will be inviting a range of curators to create a series of collections and virtual poetry events and festivals in partnership with other organisations which will be promoted around the world through their marketing and social media channels.

Simon Armitage launches the project with a recording of his poem ‘Lockdown’ made in his garden.

Submissions advice is as follows: ‘We don’t need thrills or special effects in these recordings, simply a recording of the work of poets who are writing in English now on any theme or style – the most important thing is simply for the brilliance of the poem to shine clearly through so people around the world can hear it, see it and enjoy it.’

Each poet chosen for a special collection in the Archive will be offered £100 royalty fee for the use of their poem. In return for all poems published on the project YouTube channel, the Archive pledges to bring new audiences to the poet’s writing though their marketing, newsletters and social media activity. The initiative is also promoted to UK and International audiences.

Tracey Guiry, Director of the Poetry Archive says: ‘The Poetry Archive is a freely accessible, living archive of recordings of contemporary poets which has always been a trusted source of recordings of poetry. This initiative allows us to reflect the rich diversity of poetry written today and the many ways in which poets are responding to his extraordinary year – the 20th Anniversary of our first recording – and share that with the millions of people who love the Archive.’

For more information, entry criteria and terms and conditions, visit the Poetry Archive’s website: 

Submission form opens April 10th 2020 with poems being published from April 20th.


                  The Poetry Archive is celebrating the 20th anniversary of recording poets and their poetry in 2020. Their mission is to acquire, produce and preserve a unique digital collection of recordings and videos of poets, and to make the rich diversity of these valuable voices available for present and future generations to enjoy and engage with. Alongside the important role of preserving the poems, and the legacy and voices of the poets as they read their own work, they also work to share their collections as freely and widely as possible. They offer their collections free of charge through two dedicated websites: and (their dedicated children’s archive was created with the support of the T. S. Eliot Foundation and designed for children to enjoy).

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