Poet's Voice Virtual Collection

The Poet's Voice - A Digital Poetry Collection

The Woodberry Poetry Room, named in honor of Harvard alumnus and Professor George E. Woodberry (A.B., 1877), opened in 1931 in Widener Library for the purpose of bringing alive the poet's voice and creating a place at Harvard for the enduring delight and significance of poetry. The Poetry Room, which located to Lamont Library in 1949, contains a remarkable collection of 20th and 21st century poetry books, pamphlets, magazines, broadsides, and poetry recordings from the entire English-speaking world, as well as poetic works in other languages translated into English. The "spoken" poetry archive of the Woodberry Poetry Room began in 1931 with the recording of T.S. Eliot's first public reading, which took place in Harvard's Sanders Theater. In the years since, virtually every important poet has been recorded reading or lecturing at Harvard.

The Poetry Room's archive of recorded poetry is widely acknowledged to be the largest in the world. Among its holdings are over 6,000 audio recordings from many sources in numerous formats. Approximately 3,300 of these are magnetic tape reels containing recordings specifically made by or for the Poetry Room at Harvard; some are original master recordings, and some are taped copies of material whose originals, in a variety of formats, have become damaged, fragile, or lost.

From this group of 3,300 reels of tape a select number of recordings have been digitized and made accessible to the Harvard community and, when copyright restrictions permit, the general public. As additional sound recordings are digitized they will be added to this Collection.

A Harvard University Library Virtual Collection,
Copyright 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
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