On My Doorstep

By bwhere

Simon Armitage CBE

Went to see Simon Armitage last night at the Bridlington Poetry Festival. He was in good form. Although he makes it seem that he hasn't got much to say about some of the poems he reads, he breaks off and talks anyway. He thanked us for not preferring the World Cup to him and then said, "It wasn't such an easy decision for me"!

One comment I liked was about a T-shirt he had seen someone in, emblazoned with the words "Don't follow me, you'll end up at our house". Simon talks about where he was brought up, where he now lives (which aren't very far apart) and about his mother and father so you get some sense of being at his house.

At one point in the proceedings he decided to read the first lines from a number of pieces in his latest work, Seeing Stars. He seemed to really enjoy that, as if he was pleasantly surprised by his own originality. But the revelation of the evening was when he read and reread the last line of The Delegates: "A mute swan pecked idly at a Paisley-patterned chiffon scarf before it picked up speed and slithered over the weir." He said it was his best line of poetry. It is possible, of course, he says that at every reading - about a different line!

As I was writing this, Simon was on the radio talking about becoming a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours List. He says that he going to go out and buy a hat with "Commander" on it!

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