The Poetry Society Building Campaign Poetry Society building

Over the past ten months The Poetry Society has been undergoing a much-needed project to transform its work and community spaces. The Poetry Café is back open for events – but now we’re asking for support in reaching the final 10% of our fundraising target and have launched a new campaign to help us reach our goal.

We’ve been undergoing an ambitious renovation project, transforming our much-loved Poetry Café into a modern, vibrant, welcoming space for poets and poetry lovers. Our space has undergone substantial refurbishment to the public spaces improving access, capacity and overall enjoyment. This work has been happening alongside essential work to the rest of the building and offices above – and it’s nearly complete.

A hub for the whole poetry community, The Poetry Society’s spaces are used by around 120 different poetry organisations every year – from publishers and promoters, to workshop and networking groups; with up to 2,000 poets and artists performing and exhibiting their work in the building.

We’re hugely excited about the changes we’ve already made, with a new lift to make the Café fully accessible, increasing the capacity of the Café so we can welcome more poets and poetry lovers, and re-shaping our performance space to make sure that we offer a dramatically improved experience for audiences and performers. This includes work to improve the acoustic separation between the Café and the performance space, and a system for vastly improved ventilation in the basement – which we know our Café users will appreciate after many hot summer evenings spent in the old space.

The renovation of the Café and the wider redevelopment and updating of The Poetry Society’s five-storey premises is possible thanks to the generosity of a wide range of funders including: Arts Council England, The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, City Bridge Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Robert Gavron Charitable Trust and SUEZ Communities Trust. We are very grateful for their support, as well as that of all the individuals who have given to the cause so far.

The final 10% of our fundraising target will go towards finishing the construction and introducing new fittings, including new chairs, a new sound system and a projector. Without these final elements, we can’t fully realise our ambitions for a truly transformed and transformational Poetry Café. We’re asking for support in helping us to reach our final fundraising target and secure the future of the Poetry Café. People can donate to the cause at our JustGiving page here:

Donors will be directly supporting us in our mission to create a central position for poets and poetry across the UK and beyond; our rejuvenated Poetry Society spaces will be invaluable in helping us carry out our work. From this building, we place poets in schools across the country, run vital talent development programmes, and publish the UK’s leading poetry magazine, The Poetry Review.

Every donation, no matter how large or small, will make a huge difference in helping us to create a home for poetry in the years to come.

“The space is vital. Renovating it, investing now will ensure an inspiring environment for generations to come”
Poetry Place regular Sam Lewtas

The Poetry Café has already started to welcome back its regular events, including Poetry Unplugged, Survivors Poetry and Exiled Writers Ink, and is open in the evenings when events are on. The calendar has all the up-to-date information about our staggered reopening, including fundraising events for Refugee Week, at


We will be holding a fundraising Poem-a-Thon for the Building Campaign on Saturday 22 July, featuring an exciting all-day line-up of 61 poets including Jay Bernard, Joelle Taylor, George Szirtes, Imtiaz Dharker, Richard Scott, Chrissy Williams, Raymond Antrobus and many more. There will also be a poetry tombola and plenty of opportunities to get involved and enjoy the space. You can find more information about this event, including the full line-up and how to sponsor a poet, on our website.

You can download the Press Release here.


22 June 2017