Marsden-Born Ex-Probation Officer Named Poet Laureate

Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage, celebrated for his "witty and profound" take on modern life, has been announced as the UK's new poet laureate.

He takes over from Dame Carol Ann Duffy and his appointment has been approved by the Queen for a 10-year term.

The poet, who grew up in Marsden near Huddersfield and worked as a probation officer until 1994 before focusing on poetry, has published 28 collections of poetry and his work is studied by children as part of the national curriculum.

He said he wants to "help poetry explore its potential" in a multi-media age and hopes "to build on the work of my predecessors with energy and enthusiasm".

"Since the laureateship was first conceived many hundreds of years ago Britain has changed enormously and the position of poet laureate has changed accordingly," said Armitage, a professor of poetry at the University of Leeds.

"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."

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."

Armitage becomes the 21st UK poet laureate.

The 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.

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