Visit by Simon Armitage

Most of us were apprehensive about meeting a poet as renowned as Simon Armitage, Professor of Poetry at Oxford University, and were worried we would be expected to write a perceptive and original poem to present to him and the rest of the group. However, he immediately put us at ease with a speed writing task and before we knew it, we were well underway, exploring the use of buzz words and trying to link words such a ‘picnic’ and ‘drastically’.

At the end of the workshop, we were tasked with writing a poem to describe ourselves, in particular our facial features, but one which also subtly hinted at a secret we had. Poetry is not something that many of us have time to appreciate on a daily basis; the workshop gave us the chance to write our own poetry instead of just analysing and exploring the work of other poets. It was a welcome opportunity to leave the everyday world of school at the door and explore our creativity – something we don’t always incorporate into our daily lives.

After the workshop, we enjoyed a lovely supper with Simon Armitage and most of our English teachers; it was fascinating to be able to talk about books in a way that wasn’t controlled by a syllabus, and interesting to discuss the impact of literature and other forms of communication on topical issues. Listening to Simon Armitage’s views on how poetry should be studied, and what it means to him to be a poet, was truly inspiring. We were then privileged to listen to a poetry reading by Simon Armitage himself. The reading wasn’t overly formal, as some of us had initially anticipated, but instead funny and heart-warming. Our favourite was a poem called ‘You’re Beautiful’ as it was both amusing and poignant.

Overall, Simon Armitage changed our perception of poetry and its place in the modern world. In today’s fast-moving society, poetry can be underappreciated, so the event as a whole gave us a refreshing insight into its true value.

By Nina Pigorini and Molly van der Heiden

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