Poetry on Loan was formed in 1999. Libraries across the West Midlands all had poetry collections; we had the traditional poets – Tennyson, Keats, Byron, Hardy, Pope…
There was some modern poetry; Eliot, of course, Hughes and Heaney, the giants of modern poetry. But where were the newer poets ?
We became aware of a proliferation of new poetry, and started the idea of Poetry Places – libraries that would specialise in contemporary poetry, poetry that helps us to express ourselves and to make sense of the world.
Since then, Poetry on Loan has developed and changed; we no longer think of individual libraries as Poetry Places, but try to spread an awareness and enjoyment of new poetry through all our libraries.
And the principles remain the same. As librarians and poetry champions we feel it is our duty to bring the medium of poetry into as many lives as possible.
To enjoy a good poem is to take a step back from information overload – to look objectively through the eyes and voice of another and to make contact with the correspondences between yourself and the poet.