Simon Armitage has been confirmed as the new Poet Laureate, a role he will hold for ten years after succeeding Carol Duffy who has held the role for the last decade. He will be the 21st holder of the role, with John Dryden being the first Poet Laureate who was appointed in 1668 by King Charles II.
Armitage said in a statement:
“It’s a huge honour to be appointed Poet Laureate, one of the great high offices of literature. Over the past two decades the laureateship has become a working role, with previous laureates actively involved in the promotion of poetry and in numerous initiatives to identify and encourage talent, especially within education and among younger writers; I hope to build on the work of my predecessors with energy and enthusiasm.
Since the laureateship was first conceived many hundreds of years ago Britain has changed enormously and the position of Poet Laureate has changed accordingly – I want to celebrate and speak on behalf of the variety of voices who contribute to the rich chorus of British poetry from a wide range of personal, literary and cultural experiences, and to help poetry explore its potential in a multi-faceted, multi-vocal and multi-media age.
The poetry of these islands is one of our greatest achievements, and as well as being proud of its traditions I want poetry to feel confident and at home in the contemporary world and to demonstrate that in a hectic and sometimes frenetic age the combination of considered thought and crafted language is more relevant and vital than ever. I hope poets, readers and audiences will support me in my efforts.”
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said in a statement:
“I’m delighted Simon Armitage has been appointed the UK’s new Poet Laureate. As one of our most popular and respected poets, Simon brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this important role. He is well placed to attract even more people into the literary world, and further enhance our nation’s proud tradition of producing exceptional poetry.
I would also like to thank Dame Carol Ann Duffy for her work over the last decade – championing literature, showcasing other poets’ contributions, and marking significant national moments through her outstanding poetry.”