Former UK Poet Laureate Launches Site to Archive Recordings of Poetry

Former British poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion has launched a new poetry website called PoetryArchive.org. Sir Andrew became poet laureate in 1999 and was discussing poetry with a music producer. They both agreed that the fact that so many poets had died before recordings were made of their works was a very bad thing. From that conversation sprang the new site, which is a non-profit organization devoted to preserving audio recordings of poetry, preferably read by the poets themselves, but read by others when required. Dame Judi Dench, Dame Helen Mirren, Kenneth Branagh and Daniel Radcliffe have recorded readings of their favorite poems for the site. The site also sells CDs of poetry recordings, but there is a great deal of interesting free content.

Sir Andrew told The Telegraph, "We're hoping this will be The Big Bang for poetry, which is ideally suited to being enjoyed, like music, wherever you are. At the Poetry Archive, we wanted to demonstrate that the sound of a poem is as important to its life and meaning as the words on the page and to bring this to as wide an audience as possible. Now, with the new downloads site, everyone not only has a chance to hear major poets reading their work but they can download and keep them forever too."

There is a committee, chaired by Sir Andrew, which approves new additions to the archive which is adding new recordings all the time. If you're not sure where to begin. Stephen Fry has curated a few interesting snippets to listen to: you can see his selections here.

Posted on May 25, 2014

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