The today and tomorrow of contemporary poetry

This project, funded by the Arts Council of England, aims to:

  • Develop new and wider audiences for contemporary poetry
  • raise the profile of the NPL
  • provide the library staff with opportunities for skills development
  • encourage a culture of creative engagement

Poets, library staff and members of the public will work together and towards these aims and this new period of intense NPL activity is an important step in the continued development of the Northern Poetry Library as a major UK library resource.

New NPL artworks including poems, poetry films, audio and letterpress prints – alongside specially-commissioned photography by Phyllis Christopher, community collaborations, projects and performances, an anthology (Among Woods and Water), and a new poetic form – the anchored terset created by Lead Poet Lisa Matthews – are showcased alongside new writing by poetry readers and lovers of the form. The project culminates in major poetry exhibitions – at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland, then travelling to Durham University’s Palace Green Library. Find out about the project activities

As well as the current activities, the project has one eye firmly on the future and hopes to secure a lasting legacy of forward momentum and energy ensuring that the library is available to future generations. The project is about the today and tomorrow of contemporary poetry and this digital platform and all other associated artworks and activities address the project aims and objectives and more widely are testimony to the vital importance of poetry in all our lives. The story does not finish with the end of this project – it will go on and shines a light on the profound significance of public libraries in all their contexts and locations.

The geographical epicentre of the project may be Morpeth, Northumberland, but our reach is national and international. With the use of digital environments and collaboration across platforms and partners, we hope to connect with libraries, archives, readers, poets, writers, producers, publishers, editors, venues and organisation around the world.

In the end we think an anchored terset by Pat Hallam, a key librarian and partner in this project, sums up the NPL project:

Lisa Matthews, NPL Lead Poet, October 2015

I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.Carl Sagan, writer (Cosmos)