Image by Jason Bell

Simon Armitage

b. 1963


We were testing the range of the human voice - 'The Shout', Simon Armitage

You're Beautiful

Simon Armitage

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About Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage (b. 1963) burst onto the poetry scene with Zoom! in 1989 and quickly established himself as the most high-profile poet in the group dubbed 'The New Generation'. Born and brought up in Huddersfield, England, Armitage worked as a probation officer before becoming a full-time writer, a job that provided a particularly rich source of anecdote for his poetry. His northern roots and ear for street-wise language gave his work a young, urban appeal and, combined with a comedian's sense of timing, have made Armitage a geunuinely popular poet whose work features regularly on the National Curriculum. He was the obvious choice for Poet-in-Residence for the New Millennium Experience Company at the Dome, resulting in his acclaimed thousand-line poem, 'Killing Time'. From an Eric Gregory Award in 1988 to his nomination for the T S Eliot Prize in 2002, Armitage has been a frequent presence on shortlists for all the major poetry prizes. He is also a successful writer of drama and prose, with two novels and a best-selling memoir, All Points North, to his name. He was made a C.B.E. in the Queen's Birthday honours 2010.



With his acute eye for modern life, Armitage is an updated version of Wordsworth's "man talking to men" for the post-punk generation. But his seemingly off-the-cuff style masks a sophisticated craftsmen indebted to Auden, Muldoon and MacNeice as much as popular culture. His most celebrated poems often take the form of monologue allowing him to don a variety of guises to probe serious issues of identity, class and masculinity. So whilst the neat reversal of 'The Twang' might make us laugh, its final image satirises "harmless" patriotism: "a collection box/for the National Trust. I mean the National Front." Likewise the self-deprecating tone of 'You're Beautiful' is subverted during the course of the poem, until the reader questions the gender assumptions it asserts so insistently. Elsewhere story is transfigured into vision, with the equivocal miracles of poems like 'Horses, M62' or 'The Tyre'.



Armitage's northern accent gives his poetry an extra edge, his deadpan delivery as sharp as an easterly over the Pennines. The listener feels the rhythms have grown naturally out of the poet's speaking voice, no matter who is doing the talking.



His recording was made for The Poetry Archive on 12 July 2005 at the Audio Workshop, London and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Interviews and other readings

Simon Armitage interview

Did you know there is more than one Simon Armitage? In this interview the best-selling poet and novelist introduces you to them and talks about the importance of voice in his work.

Additional material and useful links

BBC

Visit Simon Armitage's page on the BBC site.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/poetryseason/poets/simon_armitage.shtml

The Cyclops

On the Poetry Channel, Simon Armitage reads the Cyclops episode from his re-working of The Odyssey.

http://www.thepoetrychannel.org.uk/

Simon Armitage recordings, Woodberry Poetry Room

Simon Armitage recordings, Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard.

http://hcl.harvard.edu/poetryroom/listeningbooth/index.cfm#

armitage tse shortlist not live

The Poetry Book Society is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2012 TS Eliot Prize for Poetry. Simon Armitage's The Death of King Arthur (Faber)is shortlisted. Follow the link to read more...

TS Eliot Prize 2012 shortlist announced

armitage TS Eliot Prize 2012 shortlist announced

The Poetry Book Society is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2012 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry. Simon Armitage's The Death of King Arthur (Faber) has been shortlisted.

http://www.poetrybooks.co.uk/news/282/2012_t_s_eliot_prize_shortlist_announced/

Selected bibliography

Walking Home, Faber and Faber 2012

The Death of King Arthur Faber and Faber 2012

Out of the Blue, Enitharmon 2008

Seeing Stars, Faber and Faber 2010

Gig, Penguin Books 2009

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New Chatto Poets, Vintage 1999

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Machinery of Grace, The Poetry Society 2005

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Out of the Blue, Enitharmon Press 2008

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Homer's Odyssey, Faber & Faber 2006

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The Not Dead, Pomona Press 2008

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight CD - read by Simon...

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, W W Norton, 2007

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The Twilight Readings, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2008

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Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid, Faber...

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Poetry Quartets 1, Bloodaxe Books 1998

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Poetry of Birds, Penguin Books 2009

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Simon Armitage Reading from his poems, CD, The Poetry...

Ted Hughes: poems selected by Simon Armitage, Faber...

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The Universal Home Doctor, Faber & Faber, 2004

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Travelling Songs, Faber & Faber, 2004

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Short and Sweet, Faber & Faber, 2002

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Selected Poems, Faber & Faber, 2001

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Killing Time, Faber & Faber, 1999

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The Poetry Quartets 11, Audio Cassette, The British...

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All Points North, Penguin, 1998

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The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland...

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Wild Blue Yonder, Penguin/Faber Audiobooks, 1996

Cloudcuckooland, Faber & Faber, 1997

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Moon Country (with Glyn Maxwell), Faber & Faber, 1996

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The Dead Sea Poems, Faber & Faber, 1995

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Penguin Modern Poets 5 (contributor with Sean O'Brien...

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Book of Matches, Faber & Faber, 1993

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Kid, London, Faber & Faber, 1992

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Xanadu, Bloodaxe Books, 1992

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Zoom!, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bloodaxe Books, 1989

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Over the years I’ve become increasingly interested in the lyrical nature of poetry. I find that the more I’ve taken in...

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