A project intended to flag up the Northern Poetry Library’s place in the UK’s literary landscape and encourage more people to make use of it is being launched tonight.
Today is National Poetry Day, and to mark the occasion, the launch event will be held at Morpeth Library from 7pm to 9pm.
The Gas House Lane library is home to the regional poetry collection, established in 1968.
Managed by Active Northumberland, the Northern Poetry Library is the largest collection of contemporary poems outside London.
It contains the work of all the major poets writing in English since the end of the Second World War.
The new project aims to shine a spotlight on the library by holding a range of activities to encourage more people of all ages to visit it.
Val Tyler, Northumberland County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Culture, said: “This is a really exciting project. We have such a fantastic resource right here in the North East, and this gives us the chance to literally ‘spread the word’ and get people as enthused as we are.
“The project includes setting up poets-in-residence across the region to work with communities, commissions, events and a new digital platform.
“The launch will include readings from our poets, as well as the launch of the new website. It will be a great way to celebrate the beginning of this fantastic project.”
Lisa Matthews, Lead Poet for the project, is based at the Northern Poetry Library and is researching the collection.
She will work alongside fellow poets John Challis, Linda France, Carolyn Jess-Cooke, Jo Colley and Degna Stone, who are based at Blyth, Hexham, Alnwick, Ashington and Berwick libraries.
The poets will create their own work inspired by the collection and develop a programme so that community groups can write their own poetry and produce text-based artwork.
Admission to the launch event is free, but tickets need to be reserved. For details, email morpethlibrary@ activenorthumberland.org.uk or call 01670 620390.
The new website is being built in two stages, and phase one was intended to be live by today. Its progress can be followed on Twitter @plpoetry
Later on, there will also be related exhibitions at Ashington’s Woodhorn Museum, and Durham’sPalace Green Library.
Lisa, of Whitley Bay, will also work with Morpeth performance company November Club to develop a series of commissions inspired by poems.