Simon Armitage
Poet Laureate

I became interested in poetry at school. I was a very sleepy student until we started reading Ted Hughes and I just woke up. These little packages of information presented as black shapes against a white background felt like an electrifying jolt, and I think I knew at that point poetry was going to be my thing…. Poetry is important because it’s considered thought and it’s considered language and I think there have been moments in the recent past where people have speculated that poetry might have run its course, might have had its day. We’ve heard about the death of literature and so on and so forth, and I think there have been times when it’s been seen as an antiquated art form. My feeling is that it’s more valuable and relevant and necessary than ever. In this world that we live in of twenty-four-hour-a-day, 360 degrees, light, noise, colour, information, I think poetry is a really valuable substance, a really valuable opportunity. I’m very aware that we live in a society that’s changed hugely since the Britain which first conceived the laureateship and I’m determined to address those issues and try and be part of a conversation, a dialogue wherever the opportunity arises. To be as inclusive as possible and to try and encourage the great, rich chorus of voices in this society to take part in the sort of poetry choir that we have here.

Simon Armitage – Poet Laureate

The above text is taken from a filmed interview with the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Photo credit: Peter James Millson