Since opening in 2021 the Manchester Poetry Library has strived to create a comprehensive collection of poetry across culture, language and time. Featuring open reading spaces, study desks and shelves upon shelves of poetry, which are all free to borrow, the library, whose main entrance is on Cavendish Street, is fully accessible with a ground floor entrance just past the main lobby of the building. 

The library supports young local poets with its development schemes. Let the Voices In, for example, is an ongoing initiative in partnership with, among others, Manchester Metropolitan University’s Manchester Writing School, that aims to help early-career poets through a training residency, leading to an online exhibition and public workshops. The library has also partnered with local poet SuAndi of Black Arts Alliance for the Voices of Freedom film, which explores the works of families of the original delegates of the Pan African Congress of 1945 which took place in the building that now houses the library.

One of the key collections is Poetry on Vinyl, an exploration of the history of recorded poetry on vinyl. This collection explores artists from Yeats and Dylan Thomas to up-to-the-minute voices, such as revolutionary Black British poet Holly Pester. The collection centres around a recorded lecture by award-winning British Trinidadian poet and musician Anthony Joseph in which he discusses and plays some of the vinyl he has curated alongside his long-time collaborator musician Andrew John. The vinyl featured in the collection are on display at the library and a record player is available for listening. This collection is available until Fri 22 Apr.

Founded with the aim to create an outstanding poetry research centre to encourage everyone from young children to students to further explore and appreciate poetry. The library is currently working to build its Write Where We Are initiative, a collaboration with former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, on behalf of the Manchester Writing School. The initiative asks for people from all around the world to send in poetry about their experiences of the coronavirus pandemic, to be collected into an online archive available for all to view. 

The Manchester Poetry Library is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am-4.30pm, Wednesdays 10am-7pm and Saturdays 11am-5pm. Upcoming events include the book launch of Georgian poet Diana Anphimiadi’s book Why I No Longer Write Poems on Mon 21 Mar from 7pm-8pm, Nikolai Duffy and Nick Norwood’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Writing on Tue 22 Mar 6pm-7pm—an online session with the opportunity for Q&A at the end of the presentation. Anthony Rowlands will also launch his Metamodernism and Contemporary British Poetry on Tue 31 May at 6pm—this event will feature readings from some of the poets featured in the book and live music, including a performance from acclaimed Irish singer Noirin Ni Riain. All of these events are free, but tickets must be booked online prior to attendance.

Entry and membership to the library, located on the edge of Manchester Metropolitan University, is completely free, just walk on in.

Thu 17 Mar, Manchester Poetry Library,
Cavendish Street, Manchester M15 6BG
Estelle Ball
Published on:
Thu 17 Mar 2022