Simon Armitage appointed new UK Poet Laureate

Simon Armitage appointed new UK Poet Laureate

Simon Armitage is replacing Dame Carol Ann Duffy as Poet Laureate, the government has announced.

In the 10-year-role, approved by the Queen, Armitage will compose poems for royal events and state occasions, as well as celebrate poetry across Britain. 

“It’s a huge honour to be appointed Poet Laureate, one of the great high offices of literature,” he said. “Over the past two decades the laureateship has become a working role, with previous laureates actively involved in the promotion of poetry and in numerous initiatives to identify and encourage talent, especially within education and among younger writers; I hope 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 - 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.”

Armitage was born in West Yorkshire in 1963 and has published 28 collections of poetry. He is a professor of poetry at the University of Leeds and the  Holmes Visiting Professor at Princeton University in the US. He was given a CBE for services to poetry in 2010 and received The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2018.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I’m delighted Simon Armitage has been appointed the UK’s new Poet Laureate. 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.”

The UK’s first Poet Laureate was John Dryden who was given the titles by King Charles II  in 1668. Previous holders include William Wordsworth, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, John Betjeman and Ted Hughes.