Tag Archives: simon armitage

Discovering People’ Simon Armitage

On Thursday March 22nd. Nola Turner and Ruth Smith attended an event at The Geographical Society, Kensington where Simon Armitage was in conversation with Martine Croxall about his life and work. It is now some time since his first collection ‘Zoom!’ which Simon now describes as his entry point into the world of poetry. Now in his mid-fifties, he has recently published ‘The Unaccompanied,’ his 11th. collection of poetry.

Unfortunately, just as Simon Armitage was getting into his swing, the fire alarm went off and everyone was guided to a spot outside the building. A fire engine quickly arrived and we were very soon back inside but with a reduced audience for the rest of the conversation.

The main conversation was about two books ‘Walking Home’ and ‘Walking Away’ the first being an account of his walk along the Pennine Way. In fact he walked it ‘the wrong way round’ as the idea was to walk home to the village of Marsden where he was born. Simon described it as a test both of his stamina and his poetic reputation as he gave readings every night in pubs, village halls, churches and private houses in return for board and lodging. Money was collected in a sock passed round for that purpose. He described the walking as ‘harder on my smile than on my feet.’

Walking Away Simon Armitage


‘Walking Away’ is another troubadour quest along the South West Coastal path. At his daughter’s suggestion, Simon recorded his thoughts by speaking into his phone. A notebook would have involved too much stopping and starting.

Simon described himself as a ‘kitchen-sink- poet,’ interested in the details of everyday life leading to the universal. He talked a little about his rendering of Gawain and the Green Knight saying, ‘that, in itself, is a great travel poem.’ He said, interestingly, that one good thing about being a poet is that ‘you own the page’ as each poem stands on its own with white space around it

Discovering People: Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage

Thursday 22 March, 7.00pm

This spring we welcome multi-award-winning poet Simon Armitage to the Society in conversation with Martine Croxall.

Simon Armitage was born in Marsden, West Yorkshire and is an award-winning poet and lyricist who also writes extensively for theatre, television and radio. A Geography graduate from Portsmouth University, he worked as a Probation Officer before becoming a full-time writer.

Armitage has won numerous accolades including a prestigious Ivor Novello Award for his lyrics in the television film ‘Feltham Sings’. He is Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds and was elected Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford in 2015.

Recently Armitage published his eleventh collection of poetry, ‘The Unaccompanied’. His best-selling memoirs, ‘Walking Home’ and ‘Walking Away’, recount trying his luck as a modern-day troubadour along the Pennine Way and SW Coast Path.

Armitage’s interest in the poetry of place is revealed by commissions to write poems that can be seen or heard in the landscape.

He was awarded the CBE for services to poetry in 2010. He is regarded as one of our greatest living poets.

Tickets: £10, RGS-IBG members £7. 020 7591 3100

Click here to book online on the Royal Geographical Society website .


Our Meeting on March 24th 2015

This was the last meeting before Easter and the theme was ‘Heavens Above’ which prompted poems on planets, stars, clouds, night and heaven itself. Wordsworth and Gerard Manley Hopkins were well-represented, as was William Blake and we were treated to spirited readings of ‘Twinkle, twinkle Little Star’ and John Agard’s ‘Coffee In Heaven.’ Other poets visited were Maura Dooley, Penelope Shuttle. Anne Stewart and Daphne Cloag with an extract from her poem ‘Beginnings’ A poem was read from Simon Armitage’s ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’ one of 88 poems which receives its title from a constellation. We look forward to recommencing our activities on April 28th.

The Poetry Review Podcast

The poetry review podcast with Maurice Riordan and Simon Armitage, talking about the inspiration he continues to draw from the “populated vistas” he would see from his teenager’s bedroom window in Marsden, plus writing ‘The Last Days of Troy‘ and his new ‘Selected’. He also reads two new poems.

If you go to The Poetry Society Site you can listen to this podcast free by clicking here:  http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/publications/review/prpod

Or go straight to the podcast itself here:   https://soundcloud.com/poetrysociety/simon-armitage-talks-to-maurice-riordan

November Events 2014

November Events 2014

Thu 6. Simon Armitage discusses Paper Aeroplane. 7pm at Daunt Books Marylebone High Street. Tickets may be purchased from Daunt Books in person, with credit/debit card by telephone 0207 224 2295 or here online. Fri
 14 & Sat 15. Small Publishers Fair. Including Special Exhibition: Martin Rogers & Les Coleman, with readings on the Saturday. Admission free. 11 am – 7 pm. Conway Hall, Red Lion Square WC1R 4RL.

Sat 15. Poetry Surgery with Daljit Nagra. 1-3pm. Bring along up to three poems and Daljit Nagra will offer supportive critical feedback. £5, booking recommended: www.keatsevents.eventbrite.co.uk. Keats House, 10 Keats Grove, London NW3 2RR.

Mon 17. Wallace Stevens. An event celebrating the late great American poet. 7 pm. Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG. Email: info@poetinthecity.co.uk. Tel: 020 7520 1490. Book: www.kingsplace.co.uk.

Tue 18. Nina Zivancevic, Giles Goodland and David Miller. £5 or £3. 7.30 pm. The Blue Bus: The Lamb, 94 Lamb’s Conduit Street, WC1N 3LZ.

Tue 18. Templar Poetry Live at Keats House. 7-8.30. An evening with Christopher James, Beatrice Garland and the winner of the 2014 Straid Collection Award (yet to be announced!). Free, booking recommended: www.keatsevents.eventbrite.co.uk. Keats House, 10 Keats Grove, London NW3 2RR.

Thu 20. Vanguard Readings. Readers are James Byrne, Josephine Corcoran, Josephine Dickinson, Cristina Newton, Richard Skinner & Michael Symmons Roberts. The Bear Freehouse, 296a Camberwell New Road, London SE5 0RP. Start time is 7.30pm.

Mon 24. Through the Door finale. 7pm. The British Library. Sir Andrew Motion is joined by poets and archivists from across the project in a celebration of new poetry and rediscovered archives. Book here: www.bl.uk/whatson/events.

Sun 30. Keats House Poets Present…“when the frost Has wrought a silence”. 2-4pm. Keats House Poets Anthony Hett and Deanna Rodger give seasonally inspired poetry workshop. Free, booking essential: www.keatsevents.eventbrite.co.uk. Keats House, 10 Keats Grove, London NW3 2RR.