Poet Laureate Simon Armitage has today announced ambitious plans for a National Poetry Centre in Leeds.
The major partnership between Professor Armitage, the University and other city partners, will mark the appointment of the Yorkshire-born poet as Poet Laureate, and create a lasting legacy to mark his decade-long tenure.
The collaboration will be led by Leeds City Council, Leeds 2023, Leeds University and other important partners.
The intention is to provide a space that offers an extensive poetry collection with research facilities, rehearsal and performance spaces, a friendly café, opportunities for writers to exchange ideas, and event spaces for literary prizes and hopefully accommodation for visiting writers from across the UK and all over the world.
The project is Professor Armitage’s response to the opportunities offered by the royal appointment of the laureateship to develop initiatives and projects that enhance education, foster new talent and promote literature and literacy.
Professor Armitage said: “One very ambitious goal I have set myself over the forthcoming decade of my tenure is to develop a National Poetry Centre, to bring poetry in line with other national art forms that have their own headquarters and venues, such as the National Theatre and the National Gallery.
“In my view the centre needs to be outside London and Leeds is an ideal location: accessible, central, dynamic, contemporary, future-minded, people-oriented, community-aware, committed to cultural regeneration, and building momentum towards 2023.
“Poetry is one of our most ancient and proudest artistic endeavours, steeped in tradition, history and ritual. It’s also undergoing an incredible renaissance at present, particularly in relation to new generations of writers and performers across diverse backgrounds who have found in poetry a way of articulating their concerns and expressing their feelings.”