Last November the process of selecting the UK’s next Poet Laureate began with the appointment of a new advisory panel made up of experts from across the regions and nations of the UK. Its role is to offer suggestions on the scope and purpose of the next Poet Laureate, whose tenure runs for a decade, with a recommendation put to Her Majesty The Queen.
I’m delighted that West Yorkshire writer Simon Armitage is to be the new Poet Laureate taking over from Dame Carol Ann Duffy, who was appointed in 2009, and was the first woman and first Scot to take up the post. The announcement comes after Armitage won the prestigious Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2018.
He has translated medieval poems about King Arthur and Sir Gawain, retold The Odyssey as a radio play and written Last Days of Troy, a stage play for Shakespeare’s Globe and the Manchester Royal Exchange. He is currently professor of poetry at the University of Leeds and was professor of poetry at the University of Oxford between 2015-2019.
According to BBC News Armitage says he wants to celebrate what’s best in poetry and build on the work Andrew Motion and Carol Ann Duffy have done over the last two decades in terms of encouraging and identifying talent, particularly among young people.