British Council Poetry Reading Tapes

Scope and Content

The recordings in the Durham collection (314 reel to reel tapes, with cassette copies of 14 on 6 cassettes) are a selection from a larger collection produced for a British Council project, The Poet Speaks, organised by Peter Orr with backing from Harvard University Library, which holds a full set of the tapes. There is also a full set in the National Sound Archive, and other partial sets at Leeds University Library and Hull University Library.


Arranged alphabetically by poet, and then by the project number for each tape.

Access Information

Open for consultation (but currently no means of playing the tapes).

Acquisition Information

Deposited by the School of English Studies, 1989 (indefinite loan from the British Council).

Other Finding Aids

List of the full collection generated by The Poet Speaks project, annotated to show what is held in Durham.

Alternative Form Available

Some of the recordings were published in a series of LP records - The Poet Speaks.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Durham University Library does not currently have a working reel to reel tape recorder, so

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

Basil Bunting Poetry Archive: includes recordings and videos of poetry readings.


Orr, Peter, The poet speaks : interviews with contemporary poets conducted by Hilary Morrish, Peter Orr, John Press and Ian Scott-Kilvert (London: RKP, 1966)

Personal Names