The Poetry Archive is an easy website to introduce: this is the most valuable on-line poetry archive in existence. With the aid of only a few colleagues, Andrew Motion somehow got it built while he was otherwise occupied being Poet Laureate. Since he was an unusually busy and dedicated Poet Laureate, his feat of construction is doubly a wonder. It would have been easier for the site’s executives if they had just recorded the work of everyone who came forward, but in fact it was all done by invitation — the secret of the site’s quality — and took a lot of organizing. I remember the time and trouble it took just to record my own contribution, so I’m still wondering how the whole edifice has managed to appear within measurable time. Not just because I was honoured with the request to conduct one of them, I can particularly recommend the list of Guided Tours on the front page. The site is already vast, like the web itself, and as with the web itself it helps to start off by hearing someone say “look at this”. The Poetry Archive is a great creative, critical and scholarly achievement in our time, and one of the sure signs that the web really can help to guard the civilization it sometimes seems to threaten.
Enter the Poetry Archive here.