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Simon Armitage born 1963


To some he's the modern, accessible and unstuffy face of poetry. Simon Armitage's writing combines slang and immediacy with a sardonic wit. A master of wordplay, Armitage has a keen ear for dialogue and a nose for memorable expressions.

Born in 1963 in Marsden near Huddersfield, Armitage studied geography at Portsmouth University then completed an MA in social work at Manchester University. From there he researched the effects of television violence on young offenders and, like his father, pursued a career as a probation officer. Leading the vanguard of a new generation of poets in the early 1990s, Armitage has won both critical and popular acclaim. His poems particularly bring to life the experiences of adolescence and his work has featured widely in the school curriculum. The lively energy of his poetry is signaled by the titles of his collections like Zoom! and Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid.

Armitage has continued to bring poetry to fresh arenas. He was Poet-in-Residence at the Millennium Dome and often writes for film and television. In 2007 he wrote a sequence of war poems for the documentary The Not Dead, using the testimonies of ex-soldiers from recent conflicts. His other poem-films include Feltham Sings, Drinking for England and 9/11: Out of the Blue. Armitage has reworked classic texts for the stage, including the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and a dramatization of Homer's Odyssey. In 2008 he formed the pop group The Scaremongers.

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Related Links

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BBC GCSE Bitesize

Slideshow of Simon Armitage's poem Homecoming

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BBC Arts: Poetry Out Loud

Armitage reads You May Turn Over and Begin (RealPlayer).

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