Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage

Infobox Writer
name = Simon Armitage

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birthdate = Birth date and age|1963|05|26
birthplace = Huddersfield,
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nationality = flagicon|United Kingdom British
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Simon Armitage (born in Huddersfield on May 26, 1963) is a British poet, playwright, and novelist. Before finding success with his poetry he worked as a probation officer, an undertaker's assistant and a supermarket shelf stacker.cite journal|last=Ogden|first=Rachael|date=June 2001|title=Preview: Simon Armitage|journal=The North Guide|publisher=North Guide|location=UK|pages=27|issn=1470-4153|accessdate=2008-04-15] He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including "The Sunday Times" Author of the Year, a Forward Prize, a Lannan Award, and an Ivor Novello Award for his song lyrics in the Channel 4 film "Feltham Sings". In 2000, he was made the UK's official Millennium Poet during which time he wrote his 1,000 line poem "Killing Time" about news events of the previous year. He was one of the judges for the 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize and in 2006 was one of the judges for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. His writing is characterised by a dry, native Yorkshire wit combined with "an accessible, realist style and critical seriousness."

Academic history

Armitage first studied at Colne Valley High School, Linthwaite, Huddersfield, UK. He then went on to study geography at Portsmouth Polytechnic, UK, before lecturing on creative writing at both the University of Leeds, UK and at the University of Iowa, USA, writers' workshop. He is currently a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.

Notable works

Published works

Armitage has published several volumes of poetry, including "Book Of Matches" (1993) and "The Dead Sea Poems" (1995). He has written two novels, "Little Green Man" (2001) and "The White Stuff" (2004), as well as "All Points North" (1999), a collection of essays on the north of England. He produced a dramatised version of Homer's Odyssey and a collection of poetry entitled "Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus The Corduroy Kid" (which was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize), both of which were published in July 2006.

Performance works

Armitage also writes for radio, television, film and the stage. He is the author of four stage plays, including "Mister Heracles", a version of Euripides' "The Madness of Heracles". He was commissioned in 2004 by the National Theatre in London to write "Eclipse" for the Connections series, a play based on the disappearance of a girl in Hebden Bridge at the time of the 1999 solar eclipse in Cornwall. [cite web|url=|title=Shell Connections at the National|date=2004|publisher=Peter Lathan|accessdate=2008-04-03] Most recently he wrote the libretto for an opera scored by Scottish composer Stuart MacRae, "The Assassin Tree", based on a Greek myth recounted in The Golden Bough. The opera premiered at the 2006 Edinburgh International Festival, Scotland on 25 August, before moving to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London on 6 September.Saturday Night (Century Films, BBC2, 1996) - wrote and narrated a fifty minute poetic commentary to a documentary about night-life in Leeds. Directed by Brian Hill.

Quotation: "I am very bothered when I think"

I am very bothered when I think of the bad things I have done in my life. Not least that time in the chemistry lab when I held a pair of scissors by the blades and played the handles in the naked lilac flame of the Bunsen burner; then called your name, and handed them over.

O the unrivalled stench of branded skin as you slipped your thumb and middle finger in, then couldn't shake off the two burning rings. Marked, the doctor said, for eternity.

Don't believe me, please, if I say that was just my butterfingered way, at thirteen, of asking you if you would marry me.

Published works


*"Zoom!" (1989)
*"Xanadu" (1992)
*"Kid" (1992)
*"Book Of Matches" (1993)
*"The Dead Sea Poems" (1995)
*"CloudCuckooLand" (1997)
*"Killing Time." (1999)
*"Mister Heracles"
*"Selected Poems" (1991)
*"Universal Home Doctor" (2002)
*"Travelling Songs" (2002)
*"Homer's Odyssey" (2006)
*"Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus The Corduroy Kid" (2006)Many of Armitage's poems now appear in the GCSE syllabus for English literature in the UK. Some of these include: "Homecoming","The Convergence of the Twain","November", "Kid", "Hitcher", and a selection of poems from "Book of Matches", most notably of these "Mother any distance...".


*"Little Green Man" (2001)
*"The White Stuff" (2004)

Other writing

*"Eclipse" (1997)
*"All Points North" (1999)
*"Sir Gawain and The Green Knight" (2007)
*"Gig" (2008)

Radio works

*"Second Draft from Saga Land" - Six programmes for BBC Radio 3 retracing the footsteps of W. H. Auden and Louis MacNeice during their visit to Iceland in 1936.

*"Eyes of a Demigod" - A programme on politician Victor Grayson in prose and verse commissioned by BBC Radio 3.

*"The Amherst Myth" - A documentary feature on Emily Dickinson for BBC Radio 4.

*"Points of Reference" - A programme, in verse, on the history of navigation and orientation for BBC Radio 4.

*"From Salford to Jericho" - A verse drama for BBC Radio 4.

*"To Bahia and Beyond" - Five travelogue features in verse with Glyn Maxwell from Brazil and the Amazon for BBC Radio 3.

*"The Bayeux Tapestry" - A six part dramatisation, with Geoff Young, for BBC Radio 3.

*"A Tree Full of Monkeys" (2002) - A work commissioned by BBC Radio 3, created in collaboration with music group , to celebrate the opening of Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK.

*"The Odyssey" (2004) - A three-part dramatisation for BBC Radio 4.

*"Writing the City" (2005) - Five poems, recorded live at the West Yorkshire Playhouse with other northern English writers, commissioned by BBC Radio 3.


Armitage is featured in numerous anthologies including:
* The Reater "Issue 3" (Wrecking Ball Press)
* AQA GCSE English/English Literature Anthology - Simon Armitage's poems and short stories are included throughout the anthology for GCSE students to study and then be examined at the end of their courses.


Armitage is a supporter of Huddersfield Town F.C. as discussed in "All Points North". [ [ "All Points North"] , Simon Armitage] He is also a Manchester United fan as mentioned in "Gig".He is known to own a joint season ticket for Huddersfield Town and Huddersfield Giants rugby league team and can often be seen at the Galpharm Stadium on match days.


* [ Faber and Faber biography]
* [,5917,-8,00.html "Guardian Books" profile]


External links

* [ Simon Armitage's website]
* [ Griffin Poetry Prize 2006 keynote speech, including audio clip]
* [ interview (01/2002)]
* [,6121,528981,00.html "Guardian" interview (07/2001)]
* [] an analysis of "Mother"

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