The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Simon Armitage shares his poetic English life with Loyola


On Wednesday, Feb. 27, the Writing Department hosted poet and playwright Simon Armitage to read poems as part of the Modern Masters Reading Series in McManus Theatre. In addition to writing poetry, Armitage has written for radio, television, and film.

Armitage was appointed the Professor of Poetry at Oxford University in the spring of 2015 and came to Loyola to read from and talk about his latest poetry collection “Flit.”

The poems Armitage read focused on modern life and what is considered valuable in contemporary culture. Poems spoke on topics from one’s place in the universe to seating arrangements on an airplane. His work combined classic stories from mythology with everyday tales in the U.K.

After the reading, Armitage answered questions from the audience about the writing process. He talked about how he creates his titles, what a prose poem is to him, and why he plays around with form and sound.

Grace Homany ’21 enjoyed the reading and appreciated Armitage’s ability to make everyday subjects meaningful.

“A lot of his poems wove daily objects, emotions, and experiences into broader themes and gave them a much richer perspective,” she said. “It makes you pay attention to detail.”

Emily Plithides ’19 agreed and was inspired by Armitage’s writing process.

“It’s interesting to see what he decides is beautiful enough to be written about,” she said. “[His subjects are] just the ordinary that’s (sic) never looked upon in that unique way until he puts his twist on it.”

Lucas Southworth, assistant professor of writing, admired Armitage’s relaxed nature and his sense of control while still managing to write deeply poignant and intimate poetry.

“He is a clear scholar of poetry and yet one that had found a way to put his own spin on classic stories and forms,” he said. “He is also an excellent observer of modern culture. The airline boarding poem–an excellent example of that.”

Armitage’s background may suggest he would be strictly professional, but he presented himself as very casual and relatable.

“He had a funny humor to him,” Plithides said. “Anyone can relate to that. You don’t have to be a profound research scholar to enjoy his work.”

The Modern Masters Reading Series aims to give more meaning to works students read silently by bringing in the author’s voice and an anecdotal context. Southworth spoke on the importance of this perspective.

“One of the ways for writers to immerse themselves in language is to listen to writers read work in their own voices,” Southworth said. “You get a sense of tone, rhythm, humor, and a nuance of voice that you have to infer otherwise, and oftentimes you see a piece quite differently after hearing an author read it.”

“Hearing Armitage read his own writing was a really special experience,” Homany said. “The intimacy of McManus Theatre really gives the audience a sense of inclusion.”

Feature Image: Courtesy of Simon Armitage’s website.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Greyhound Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Simon Armitage shares his poetic English life with Loyola