Papers relating to the Nottingham Poetry Festival of February 1966

Scope and Content

This small collection consists primarily of letters and postcards from various poets to the organisers of the Festival.

The correspondence is not restricted in subject matter to the Festival. Some of the letters refer to other readings organised by the Trent Bookshop and to the sale and order of books and magazines. There is discussion of the contemporary literary scene, and the publication of poetry.

A small number of documents refer to the organisation of the Festival, including circulars and lists of those attending.

Administrative / Biographical History

Martin Parnell and Stuart Mills opened the Trent Bookshop at Trent Bridge, Nottingham in 1965 as a centre for modern literature. They introduced a series of monthly poetry readings at the bookshop and also arranged readings at the Nottingham Playhouse during its festival in July 1965. From these beginnings they progressed to the organisation of the Nottingham Poetry Festival, which was later acclaimed as a major event in the poetry world.

About seventy poets were invited to attend the Festival. Among those who accepted were Alan Brownjohn, Robert Garioch, Michael Horovitz, Brian Patten, Tom Pickard and Jonathan Williams.

The two-day conference featured events at both the Midland Group Gallery and the Albert Hall in Nottingham, including an exhibition of concrete/spatial poetry, readings by poets, a concert of jazz and poetry, and discussions concerning the role of small presses and magazines in the arts world.


The papers are split into three sections: miscellaneous material, letters from sponsors, letters from poets. The latter is arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:

Typescript Catalogue to item level 23 pp

At the National Register of Archives, The National Archives, Kew:

Typescript Catalogue to item level 23 pp

Conditions Governing Use

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Custodial History

The collection was acquired by the University in 1989.