Collections in Verse

Bringing exhibitions to life through poetry


Poet in the City and the British Library are collaborating to establish a new approach to touring exhibitions. Over three years, Poet in the City will commission new poetry and create events across England to tell the story of British Library exhibitions.

Working closely with local communities and artists in the North, South East and South West, we will present locally-specific versions of the exhibitions. Libraries in Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, Reading and Exeter will become homes for ambitious live poetry events – creating new opportunities to celebrate and share exhibitions in new ways with audiences across the UK.

Poet and the City are bringing together poets, exhibition curators and local communities to tell stories with a local twist related to the British Library’s exhibition programme. We want you to join us for late events, poetry busking, poetic residencies, panel discussions and more which will connect British Library exhibitions with the local areas and communities where these events are held.

Codex Amiatinus on loan to British Library from Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana © Sam Lane Photography

Poet in the City

Poet in the City brings poetry to life beyond books, producing classic and contemporary poetry performances and commissions taking on major ideas, issues and people. We showcase biopics, use poetry to animate cultural movements, and create dramatic poetry experiences in major arts venues and unusual spaces. We want to make live poetry more popular and our work brings large and diverse new audiences to the art form.

Audiences are at the heart of everything we do, and we work with a thriving community of volunteers who are involved in all aspects of our work, deliver creative audience participation programmes and lead a producers scheme for 16-25 year olds to train the next generation of poetry producers.

For further information about our work, please go to our website:

© British Library

British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

The British Library’s mission is to make its intellectual heritage available to everyone for research, inspiration and enjoyment and to be the most open, creative and innovative institution of its kind by the time of our 50th anniversary in 2023. Collections in Verse works directly with library partners from the Living Knowledge Network, an innovative partnership with major public libraries across the UK, founded by the British Library, the National Library of Scotland and the National Library of Wales. The aim is to share resources, skills and ideas, promoting the enduring values of libraries and reinforcing the idea of the library as a transformative and accessible public asset.

You can find more about the British Library’s current and future work at, and the Living Knowledge Network at