Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage became poet laureate in 2019. His most recent collection, Magnetic Field: The Marsden Poems, was published in 2020; his first, Zoom!, appeared in 1989.

Poem: ‘Deor’

Simon Armitage, 21 February 2013

Weland the goldsmith      knew grief’s weight. That strong-minded man      was no stranger to misery, his loyal soul-mates      were sorrow and longing, a hurt like winter      weathered his heart once Niðhad had hamstrung      and...

Poem: ‘The Invasion’

Simon Armitage, 23 July 2009

translated from ‘The Alliterative Morte Arthure’

King Arthur was on his mighty boat with many men, enclosed in a cabin among copious equipment. And while resting on a richly arrayed bed he was soothed to sleep by the swaying of the sea. And he dreamed of a dragon dreadful to behold that came droning and driving from across the deep, arrowing directly from the regions of the West,...

Three Poems

Simon Armitage, 19 October 2000

The Hard

Here on the Hard, you’re welcome to pull up and stay; there’s a flat fee of a quid for parking all day.

And wandering over the dunes, who wouldn’t die for the view: an endless estate of beach, the sea

kept out of the bay by the dam-wall of the sky. Notice the sign, with details of last year’s high tides.

Walk on, drawn to the shipwreck, a mirage of masts a...

Poem: ‘For the Record’

Simon Armitage, 21 August 1997

Ever since the very brutal extraction of all four of my wisdom teeth, I’ve found myself talking with another man’s mouth, so to speak, and my tongue has become a mollusc such as an oyster or clam, broken and entered, licking its wounds in its shell.

I was tricked into sleep by a man with a smile, who slipped me the dose like a great-uncle slipping his favourite nephew a ten-pound...

Two Poems

Simon Armitage, 5 June 1997

The Ram

Half-dead, hit by a car, the whole of its forma jiggle of nerves, like a fish on a lawn.To help finish it off, he asked me to standon its throat, as a friend might ask a friend

to hold, with a finger, the twist of a knot.Then he lifted its head, wheeled it aboutby the ammonite, handlebar shells of its hornstill its eyes, on stalks, looked back at its bones.

The Swordfish

After the weapon...

The survival of poetry, especially if written before the invention of print, has often been a matter of luck or accident. Consigned to caves in the deserts of the Middle East, it might be...

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Tony Parsons is the talented journalist who used to play Leonard Bast to Tom Paulin’s rentier intellectual on Late Review, the BBC’s weekly parade of Schlegelisms. He was the mean...

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Dome Laureate: Simon Armitage

Dennis O’Driscoll, 27 April 2000

Simon Armitage likes to have it both ways. He is the streetwise poet who is at home in a Radio 1 studio; but he is also the ambitious literary figure who aspires to ‘nothing less’...

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Anthologies are powerful things: movements are launched, periods are parcelled up, writers are made and broken. They are, or want to be, the book world’s performative utterances: defining...

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All the Cultural Bases

Ian Sansom, 20 March 1997

This is tricky. First the facts. In 1936 W.H. Auden persuaded Faber and Faber to commission a travel book about Iceland. He spent three months in the country, part of the time travelling with his...

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Uncertainties of the Poet

Nicolas Tredell, 25 June 1992

‘Fin de siècle’: the term suggests a dilution and dispersal of the cultural, social and political energies of a century, an uneasy time of uncertainties as a new era waits to be...

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