poetry is a go-anywhere art form

One of Simon Armitage's priorities in his new role is to promote nature poetry, not in the romantic style, but in the context of environmental issues. "I want poetry to play its part in addressing climate change," he said. Second, he wants to set up a Centre of Poetry in one venue (Huddersfield?) "to host, house resource and celebrate our national art form".

"Poetry is a very broad church. My hope is that we will come to recognise excellence in all its different fields. Whether you are writing a single volume or performing on the main stage at Glastonbury, your responsibility as a poet is to put pressure on language."

He may not be expected to write poems for a Royal birth, but he will continue to react to news events of national significance. No doubt he will be inundated with commissions, which he enjoys doing: "A commission is a puzzle to which the answer is a poem," he said.

He read several poems from his new collection, Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic, before being presented with a cake for his birthday from Festival Director Peter Florence.

Picture by Chris Athanasiou

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