In 2020, Manchester Metropolitan University will open the North West’s first public poetry library.
The mission of Manchester Poetry Library is to widen access to poetry and to support the creation and performance of new writing at every level from primary school to professional publication.
The core collection of Manchester Poetry Library will consist of late 19th, 20th and 21st century poetry in English from around the world. We will stock journals, pamphlets, books, collections, anthologies, audio recordings, films, big press, little press, poetry for children, and poetry in translation. The library will also run events series, reading groups, workshops, performances and more.
Manchester Poetry Library will have a special focus on poetry in recording from film to audio. The library will trace the history of poetry in audio recording from the first wax cylinder recordings to podcasting. Do you know of recordings that need to be preserved or made more widely available? We’d love to know.
Manchester has over 200 different community languages. This is one of the highest language densities of any city in the UK. Since 2012, Manchester Metropolitan University has been celebrating and promoting the region’s many languages through its multilingual poetry competition Mother Tongue Other Tongue, which is now a UK-wide initiative. At Manchester Poetry Library we will curate poetry in different languages with the help of the city’s language communities through festivals, readings, mushairas, translation workshops, commissions and other events. We will stock books and recordings in a translation and as first language editions. If you are interested in getting involved with our languages programme, we’d love to hear from you.
The unique position of Manchester’s poetry library, within a university, and at the heart of a multidisciplinary creative campus, will drive an emphasis on collaboration across art forms, and on poetry as a means of exploring knowledge and experience in a range of disciplines and professions. Our collections and activities will explore the relationship between poetry and theatre, performance, music, broadcast, screen media and visual art. They will draw on the expertise of Manchester Met academics who are already using poetry in initiatives ranging from nurse training to sociolinguistic dialect research, and will further the work of established centres of excellence in arts-based inquiry at Manchester Metropolitan such as Arts for Health and Manchester Centre for Youth Studies.
The Department of English at Manchester Met is home to the Centre for Place Writing: a new research centre that explores creative-critical approaches to space, place, and landscape. Poetry is central to the Centre’s broad definition of what constitutes place writing; and, although its spatial interests are widespread, the work of the Centre is rooted within the material and imaginative geographies of north-west England. Manchester Poetry Library will collect poetry associated with the spaces, places, and landscapes of the North West, and explore new ways of bringing this diverse poetry of place to audiences across the region.
Manchester Met has a longstanding expertise in poetry for children, which finds its expression in ground-breaking projects such as the Manchester Children’s Book Festival, the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition and Let in the Stars—a campaign in support of children’s poetry, its publishers and authors. The poetry for children collection aims to foster positive early experiences with poetry.
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