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Simon Armitage | 2017 Featured Poet

Poet Simon Armitage holds a pen horizontally in his mouth.

Visit an article of our interview with him HERE.

Poet Simon Armitage will be on campus Wednesday, April 05, 2017.

9:30 AM reading and conversation about writing process

8:00 PM public reading preceded by at open mic (6:15-7:30) and followed by Q&A and book signing

Born in 1963 in the village of Marsden, England, Simon Armitage is an award-winning poet, author, songwriter, playwright, and translator. Residing in West Yorkshire, he is the current Professor of Poetry at Oxford University (2015-2019) and the University of Sheffield. Paper Aeroplane, Selected Poems 1989 -2014, a selection from twenty-five years of published work, is his most recent publication. He is often referred to as the Boy Dylan of England.

In 2010, for services to poetry, Armitage was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. His numerous other awards include the Sunday Times Young Author of the Year, one of the first Forward Prizes, a Lannan Award, a Cholmondeley Award and the Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize. In 2012, at the 25th Hay Festival, he was presented with the Hay Medal for Poetry. In 1999 Armitage was named the Millennium Poet and published the one thousand line poem Killing Time.

Armitage’s first full-length collection of poems, Zoom!, was published in 1989 and Xanadu was published in 1992. Further collections include: Kid (1992); Book of Matches (1993); The Dead Sea Poems (1995); Moon Country (with Glyn Maxwell, 1996); CloudCuckooLand (1997); Killing Time (1999); Selected Poems (2001); Travelling Songs (2002); The Universal Home Doctor (2002); Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid (2006), shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Seeing Stars (2010). The Shout, his first US collection in 2005, was also shortlisted for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award. With Robert Crawford he edited The Penguin Anthology of Poetry from Britain and Ireland Since 1945 and is the editor of a selection of Ted Hughes’ poetry.

Armitage’s highly acclaimed translation of the middle English classic poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight appears in its entirety in the Norton Anthology of English Literature. A further medieval translation, The Death of King Arthur (2011), was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for the 2012 TS Eliot Prize. His translation of the medieval poem Pearl will appear in 2016.

Armitage writes extensively for radio and television, and is the author of four stage plays, including Mister Heracles, a version of the Euripides play The Madness of Heracles, and The Last Days of Troy, performed at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2014. His dramatization of The Odyssey, commissioned by the BBC, was published as Homer’s Odyssey – A Retelling. In 2005 he received an Ivor Novello Award for his song-lyrics in the Channel 4 film Feltham Sings, which also won a BAFTA, and in 2006 his television documentary Song Birds was screened at the Sun Dance Film Festival. As a broadcaster Armitage has presented films for the BBC on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Arthurian Literature and on Homer’s Odyssey, sailing from Troy in Turkey to the Greek island of Ithaca. In 2006 he wrote the libretto for the opera The Assassin Tree, composed by Stuart McRae, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Armitage has published two novels, Little Green Man (2001) and The White Stuff (2004). His other prose works include the three best-selling non-fiction titles All Points North; Walking Home, a Poet’s Journey; and Walking Away.

Armitage has served as a judge for the Forward Prize, the T.S Eliot Prize, the Whitbread Prize, the Griffin Prize, and in 2006 was a judge for the Man Booker Prize. Simon Armitage is a Vice President of the Poetry Society and in 2004 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He has taught at the University of Leeds, Manchester Metropolitan University and in 2000 at the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. In 2012, as an artist in residence at London’s South Bank Centre, he conceived and curated Poetry Parnassus, a gathering of world poets and poetry from every Olympic nation as part of Britain’s Cultural Olympiad, a landmark event generally recognized as the biggest coming together of international poets in history.

Join us for one of Britain’s most acclaimed contemporary poets and one of its most eloquent communicators. Armitage will be on campus to read some of his poems, talk about his writing process, and respond to questions at a 9:30 AM session on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. He will read his poetry at an 8:00 PM session. Both events will be on the campus of Oklahoma City University. Both sessions are also free and open to the public for those who arrive first. Full Circle Bookstore will be at the events selling Armitage’s books, and he will sign books after both sessions. An Open-Mic Poetry Reading will be held from 6:15 PM to 7:30 PM. All events will take place in the Kerr McGee Auditorium of the Meinders School of Business, at NW 27th between N. Blackwelder and N. McKinley.

Please plan to be at Oklahoma City University for the Nineteenth Annual Thatcher Hoffman Smith Poetry Series on April 5, 2017: Conversations with Simon Armitage. The Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature will collaborate with the Petree College of Arts and Sciences, the OCU English Department, The Oklahoma Humanities Council, the Oklahoma Arts Institute, the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of English, Full Circle Bookstore, and other groups to make these events possible.

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