Growing up in Marsden in West Yorkshire, the Poet Laureate always associated his early poetic experiences with the night-time view from his bedroom window – those 'private, moonstruck observations' and the clockwork comings and goings in the village providing rich subject matter for his first poems. Decades on, that window continues to operate as both framework and focal point for the writing, the vastness of the surrounding moors always at his shoulder forming a constant psychological backdrop. Magnetic Fieldbrings together his Marsden poems, from his very first pamphlet to new work from a forthcoming collection. It offers his perspective on a locality he describes as 'transcendent and transgressive', a unique region forming a frontier territory between many different worlds.
A Vertical Art gathers together the poet's spirited public lectures delivered during his four-year tenure as Oxford University Professor of Poetry. Armitage tries to identify a 'common sense' approach to an art form that can lend itself to grand statements and vacuous gestures, questioning both the facile and obscure ends of the poetry spectrum. He asserts fundamental qualities that separate the genre from prose and song lyrics, examining who poetry is written for and its value today.