‘Carry your heart like an egg on a spoon’

A poet and he knows it: Simon Armitage has published 28 poetry collections.

Those are the beautiful words of Simon Armitage, a famous UK poet. Poetry will never be everyone’s cup of tea, he says, but today it is attracting more interest.

What’s happening

Simon Armitage has written about everything from climate change to Batman, astronauts to Poundland. His poems have been carved into stones in the Yorkshire countryside.

He is the UK’s poet laureate.

Find out more

The job has been around since 1668. The poet laureate is a member of the Royal Household. They were originally employed to write poems to commemorate events like coronations or royal weddings. These days, it is more about promoting poetry.

Armitage has been doing that for years. His style is simple, direct and often funny. He likes to write about ordinary lives.

Now, he says he wants to use his new job to encourage a new generation of young poets in Britain.

Poetry is “more valuable and more relevant than it’s ever been,” Armitage told the BBC. Is that true?

Some say…

Poetry is not relevant to our lives. Hardly anyone reads it outside school, and it can often be confusing or difficult to understand. It would be better to have an official novel writer or musician. That way, the work would reach more people.

Others think…

Poetry is absolutely relevant to our lives. If you have ever been to a wedding or a funeral, you probably heard someone read a poem during the service. We reach for it at the most important moments in our lives. Thank goodness it is always there.

You Decide

  1. Who is your favourite poet?

Activities

  1. Discuss Simon Armitage’s poem Give, written in the image at the top of this article. What is it about? What is the double-meaning of the word “change”?

Some People Say...

“The greatest art requires the least explanation.”

Simon Armitage

What do you think?

Word Watch

Climate change
Long-term changes to the Earth’s weather and temperature. There is now much concern about climate change made by people.
Laureate
Someone who has been honoured, or received an award, in a particular area
Royal Household
The departments and organisations of the Royal Family
Commemorate
To remember someone or something by a special celebration
Coronations
Ceremonies where someone who reigns over a kingdom or empire is crowned
Encourage
Help and spur someone on

Subjects

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