Simon Armitage, one of the UK’s leading contemporary poets, has just joined the staffing team at the University of Leeds, School of English. Some of his multi-award winning poetry collections include Out of the Blue and Paper Aeroplanes. Armitage has also been a big contributer to contemporary translation, some notable examples being Homer’s Odyssey and Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. Being Yorkshire-born, Armitage already has links to the area and was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters to the university in 2015.
“It’s a pleasure to be able to welcome one of the UK’s best contemporary poets to the university. He’s a very experienced poet and he’s worked in other universities before so he understands the university environment.”
In The Middle caught up with the School of English’s Deputy Head of Student Education, Dr. Richard De Ritter, on his thoughts about Armitage joining the staff team: “It’s a pleasure to be able to welcome one of the UK’s best contemporary poets to the university. He’s a very experienced poet and he’s worked in other universities before so he understands the university environment.” De Ritter also commented that he thinks Armitage will be a good addition to the staff team because hand in hand with being good with words, he is also good at engaging with people: “I’ve seen him read here before and he’s a great person to hear perform his own poetry. When you see him read, you realize he’s a very engaging performer and a good communicator. He’s somebody who understands literature as well as works with it.” Moreover, the School of English are also looking to introduce a BA in English and Creative Writing. De Ritter added that, “It’s great for the school that he’s here and is definitely an important step in welcoming the improvement of the creative writing we offer to students here.”
Adding such a profound poet to the staff team is definitely an exciting prospect for both the School of English and the University as a whole. As a poet who likes to juxtapose the mysterious and the mundane, De Ritter noted this is particualry prominent in his poem, The Christening. Hopefully Armitage will offer a bit of mystery to a subject sometimes wrongly characterized as full of stuffy characters.
(Image courtesy of University of Oxford)