Saturday, 24 November 2007

Northern Soul

Poems of The Month
Continuing on a poetic bent, I recently got hold of Simon Armitage's latest collection "Tyrannosaurus Rex versus the Corduroy Kid" Faber and Faber 2006.

I have loved his work for years and must have most of his books (some are even signed, making me a poetry groupie!).

You may have heard his work, he appears from time to time on Mark Radcliffe's Radio Show and has written a number of verse films for Channel 4, the most recent was about the post conflict experiences of Britain's war heroes who came home and was as touching and insightful as his other work.

Armitage's style builds on the work of other local talent such as Ted Hughes and Tony Harrison. He tries to write in his everyday voice and coming from Marsden in West Yorkshire he revels in flat vowels and the wonderful dialectically nouns and verbs of the area. He avoids too many academic poetry games and has a sensibility inspired by the Smiths and The Premiership but is also at ease with poetry's past.

Anyway I always think that poetry's genius is to say things that can't be said in in any other way, so I'll stop now and leave you with my favourite verse (so far) from his new book . It has a wonderful "carpa diem" feel and a lovely use of the word "Royd".


You’re twelve. Thirteen at most.
You’re leaving the house by the back door.
There’s still time. You’ve promised
not to be long, not to go far.

One day you’ll learn the names of the trees.
You fork left under the ridge,
pick up the bridleway between two streams.
Here is Wool Clough. Here is Royd Edge.

The peak still lit by sun. But
evening. Evening overtakes you up the slopes.
Dusk walks its fingers up the knuckles of your spine.
Turn on your heel. Back home

your child sleeps in her bed, too big for a cot.
Your wife makes and mends under light.
You’re sorry. You thought
It was early. How did it get so late?

©Simon Armitage 2006

Hear him read his own work here.

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