Simon Armitage announced as new Poet Laureate

The poet succeeds Dame Carol Ann Duffy in the post.

Simon Armitage has been announced as the UK’s new Poet Laureate.

The poet, who succeeds Dame Carol Ann Duffy in the post, said he wants to “help poetry explore its potential” in a multi-media age.

The Queen has approved the appointment for a fixed term of 10 years.

It is up to the poet to decide whether or not to produce poetry for national occasions or royal events.

Dame Carol Ann Duffy
Dame Carol Ann Duffy (Mikael Buck/Smart Energy GB/PA)

And Armitage said he hopes “to build on the work of my predecessors with energy and enthusiasm”, promoting poetry, especially within education, and young talent.

Armitage, who was born in Marsden, West Yorkshire, has published 28 collections of poetry and his work is studied by children as part of the national curriculum.

He worked as a probation officer in Greater Manchester until 1994 before focusing on poetry

He is a professor of poetry at the University of Leeds and now becomes the 21st UK Poet Laureate.

“Since the laureateship was first conceived many hundreds of years ago Britain has changed enormously and the position of Poet Laureate has changed accordingly,” he said.

“I want to celebrate and speak on behalf of the variety of voices who contribute to the rich chorus of British poetry from a wide range of personal, literary and cultural experiences, and to help poetry explore its potential in a multi-faceted, multi-vocal and multi-media age.

“The poetry of these islands is one of our greatest achievements, and as well as being proud of its traditions I want poetry to feel confident and at home in the contemporary world and to demonstrate that in a hectic and sometimes frenetic age the combination of considered thought and crafted language is more relevant and vital than ever.

“I hope poets, readers and audiences will support me in my efforts.”

Armitage received The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2018, awarded for excellence in poetry, on the basis of his body of work.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “As one of our most popular and respected poets, Simon brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this important role.

“He is well placed to attract even more people into the literary world, and further enhance our nation’s proud tradition of producing exceptional poetry.”

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “Simon Armitage is one of the UK’s foremost poets, whose witty and profound take on modern life is known and respected across the world.

“He has done so much to promote poetry, and I am sure he will use the Laureateship to continue this work.”

The UK’s first Poet Laureate by royal appointment was John Dryden who was given the title by King Charles II in 1668.

Previous Poet Laureates have included William Wordsworth, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, John Betjeman and Ted Hughes.

UK Poet Laureates initially served until their death until the rules were changed in 1999.

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