Collections in Verse

Collection in Verse is Poet in the City’s exciting new project in partnership with the British Library, using marvelous poetry events and commissions to bring British Library exhibitions to five cities around the UK. Over the course of three years we’ll be visiting libraries and community centres, engaging with local poets to respond to and  animate the exhibitions in a locally specific manner through a range of exciting shows and events.


The project will launch in Leeds, beginning its initial development in Spring of this year and culminating in a range of events at the beginning of 2019. The programme will also take up residency in Sheffield, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Exeter and Reading, using its local communities to influence and inspire the exhibitions to take on different shapes around the country. The cities included in Collections in Verse were selected due to their adverse positioning on the UK touring map. Our aspirations for the project are that it will allow for wider access to the exhibitions, and in turn encourage a larger range of voices to get involved in the discussions they incite. By putting libraries and communities at the centre of our project, we hope to build vibrant creative hubs for poetry performance in the community that will continue to thrive after we are gone.


The first exhibition we’ll be visiting is ‘Windrush’ a landmark installation commemorating 70 years since the ship the Empire Windrush arrived in the UK carrying hundreds of migrants from the Caribbean. The exhibition will explore the significance of Windrush, its broader implications in Caribbean history, and in the development of British multiculturalism. Windrush will first visit Leeds where three local poets will look to explore the stories it inspires telling. The three poets for Leeds will be Malika Booker, Khadija Ibrahim, and Vahni Capildeo who each have their own relationships to the city, and will seek to use their standing in the community to bring audiences to the library. Windrush is a momentous occasion in many people’s heritage, and we look forward to how it is reflected in contrasting cities.


Collections in Verse will be delivered in partnership with the British Library and Living Knowledge Network. Further updates on poets and events to be shared