Simon Armitage announces plans for National Poetry Centre in Leeds


27 February 2020
Poet Laureate Simon is the first patron of Leeds 2023 cultural investment programme

The National Poetry Centre will be a public space with an extensive poetry collection, research facilities, a performance space, a café, events spaces and hopefully accommodation for visiting poets.

Simon, who is Professor of Poetry at Leeds University, 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 etc. 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.'

Leeds 2023 is a year-long programme of arts and culture. 'The minute Simon mentioned his vision to us at the start of his tenure we knew it was something we wanted to do,' said Leeds 2023 chair Ruth Pitt. 'Poetry speaks to everyone and any of us can pick up a pen and write. A National Poetry Centre embodies everything we want to achieve, which is to benefit our people, nurture learning, talent and creativity and to establish a visitor destination for poetry and literature fans across the world.'

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