Famous poet takes up new post at University of Leeds

Simon Armitage. the University of Leeds' first Professor of Poetry.  Picture Bruce Rollinson.
Simon Armitage. the University of Leeds' first Professor of Poetry. Picture Bruce Rollinson.
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World-renowned poet Simon Armitage has been announced as the University of Leeds’ first Professor of Poetry.

Professor Armitage returns to the School of English 20 years after taking up his first academic post, when he taught creative writing to Leeds students following an earlier career as a probation officer.

With more than 25 anthologies and numerous awards and prizes to his name, Professor Armitage enjoys huge popularity across the world. His work is now studied by students of all ages.

At Leeds, where the University Library is already home to the poet’s archive, he will be contributing to a range of courses, teaching undergraduates and post-graduates, as well as working with a wide range of academics across the University – and developing links across the city and beyond.

Professor Armitage said: “I am honoured to have been appointed Professor of Poetry.

“I have a longstanding relationship with the university, through my very first teaching job and my connection with the library, and am delighted to be joining such an ambitious and prestigious university.

“The School of English at Leeds has a long and proud poetic tradition; it also greatly values contemporary literature, and in what are exciting times for poetry, I am looking forward to working with an institution which does so much to support and encourage new writing from both within and outside the University.”

Dr Fiona Becket, Head of the School of English, added: “Current and future students for many years to come will be extremely excited to have the opportunity to hear and talk to Simon, and to be taught by him.”

Professor Armitage, who was born and continues to live in West Yorkshire, is a poet, writer, translator and broadcaster. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, most recently the PEN Award for Translation for his reworking of the medieval poem, Pearl. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the recipient of an Ivor Novello Award for song-writing, a BAFTA and a CBE for services to poetry.