The Unaccompanied is the new poetry collection from Simon Armitage. The book comes after the poet has been lending his skills to other medium. This has included making documentaries for the BBC, translating medieval and Middle English poetry to modern day English and also writing song lyrics. Simon Armitage has clearly been very busy, but he has found time to return to the Edinburgh International Book Festival to discuss his new collection with Lilias Fraser from the Scottish Poetry Library.
The event begins by Armitage explaining that recently he has been “sidetracked with other projects, but always had the idea that poetry can work in different fields”. Despite working in these other creative fields, Simon Armitage always seems to take the perspective of a poet. When he writes a play, or a book, the topic always seems to consider poetry. When discussing his work Armitage states that “I see my poems as being an act of communication”. This is made clear when the evening continues and Simon Armitage reads some of his work.
The reading begins with a poem from The Unaccompanied called Nurse at a Bus Stop. This poem sets the tone for the evening, where beautiful imagery is used to fully explain an uncomplicated and seemingly mundane scene. Armitage mentions that he likes to take “two unconnected things and crash them together to create something new”. This is expressed in his reading of the poem To Do List. Again we are presented with a mundane topic and it is given an exciting twist by the poet.
The event concludes with Armitage stating that “there is a place for poetry in our daily lives” and that he enjoys the alternative nature of poetry and the fact that it is not consumed and and written on mass. Simon Armitage then reads the poem Homework and the audience get a final opportunity to hear a great contemporary poet read his work in the fine setting of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.