Simon Armitage takes over as Poet Laureate after meeting with the Queen

Writer Simon Armitage has formally taken up his post as the nation’s Poet Laureate after meeting the Queen.

The poet met the monarch at Buckingham Palace, where he was also presented with the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2018 – awarded for excellence in poetry – on the basis of his body of work.

Armitage succeeds Dame Carol Ann Duffy, who was also at the palace for an audience with the Queen to relinquish her role as Poet Laureate.

Audience at Buckingham Palace
Audience at Buckingham Palace

Earlier in May, the Queen approved the appointment for a fixed term of 10 years and Armitage said at the time he wanted to “help poetry explore its potential” in a multimedia age.

The poet said he hoped “to build on the work of my predecessors with energy and enthusiasm”, promoting poetry, especially within education, and young talent.

It is up to the poet to decide whether or not to produce poetry for national occasions or royal events.

Armitage, who was brought up in Marsden, West Yorkshire, has published 28 collections of poetry and his work is studied by children as part of the national curriculum.

He worked as a probation officer in Greater Manchester until 1994 before focusing on poetry

The writer is a professor of poetry at the University of Leeds and now becomes the 21st UK Poet Laureate.

“Since the laureateship was first conceived many hundreds of years ago Britain has changed enormously and the position of Poet Laureate has changed accordingly,” he said.

“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 multimedia age.”