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Image © Keats House Museum via Facebook

A Poet’s Guide to London

Billie Manning

Express yourself!
London’s poetry and spoken word scene is thriving with a new night popping up every week. You can go big and see the UK’s best poets doing their thing at Rich Mix’s monthly showstopper Jawdance, or for something more intimate, head to righteous and riotous hip-hop, politics and poetry night Pen-Ting. If you aren't content just watching, there are usually a good number of open-mic slots at each event, but for a guaranteed go on the stage, try Dalston's ever-popular Spoken Word London. You might just find yourself addicted to the applause. Check out our Top 5 Poetry and Spoken Word events here.
 
Visit the home of a legend
Keats House is a stunning Grade-I listed Hampstead house which once played home to the Romantic poet John Keats. Keats House is now a writer’s house museum open to the public, where you can learn more about the poet by delving into original manuscripts and artefacts. You can listen to Keats' poetry, watch a film about his busy life in Hampstead, or even create your own poem, and the house really comes into its own via the series of events it hosts throughout the year, from poetry performances to family days. 

Join the club
The National Poetry Library is a total gem for any poetry lover in London. You can become a member for free and immerse yourself in the world of poetry from thereon in: they pretty much have every poetry book and magazine you could think of, plus it's one of the only places you can find pamphlets and short collections to read for free. You can also find cool rare editions of some poetry books at libraries like the Wellcome Collection and The British Library. Check out our list of the best libraries in London here.
 
Have a browse
In the age of Amazon, independent bookshops provide a much needed alternative. From works by new and small presses to unusual talks and events, there are loads of shops in London which can provide you with some new and challenging fiction, or help you find an unusual present for the book lover in your life. Check out our list of the best independent bookshops in London here.

Flex your creative muscles
If you don’t fancy your chances on stage, there are certainly plenty of other options at the multi-disciplinary Poetry School London. The school covers reading, writing and translating poetry, and there are also courses on poetry and cinema, using collage as a prompt and ecological writing.

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