Simon Armitage's new work about coronavirus is released today

It could be verse! Poet Laureate Simon Armitage's uplifting new work about how coronavirus pandemic has changed lives is released to mark National Poetry Day todayPoet Laureate Simon Armitage said loc

Simon Armitage's new work about coronavirus is released today

It could be verse! Poet Laureate Simon Armitage's uplifting new work about how coronavirus pandemic has changed lives is released to mark National Poetry Day today

  • Poet Laureate Simon Armitage said lockdown sometimes left him lost for words
  • His new work is about how pandemic changed lives and is released today
  • It's a commission for BT, who will replace adverts with extracts from poem today 

You might think all that time for reflection in lockdown would quite suit a poet.

But yesterday, the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage – whose uplifting new work about how the pandemic has changed lives is released on National Poetry Day today – told how it sometimes left him lost for words.

In a Zoom interview with the Mail from the study of his home in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, where he wrote his latest work titled Something Clicked, he said he’d had a lot more time to pick up his pen – but had talked to other writers who ‘found it very difficult to concentrate because of the background of loss, anxiety and worry’.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage's new work about how the pandemic has changed lives is released on National Poetry Day today. He told how lockdown sometimes left him lost for words

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage's new work about how the pandemic has changed lives is released on National Poetry Day today. He told how lockdown sometimes left him lost for words

‘It’s been a bit of both for me,’ he said. 

‘I’ve got through a lot of writing, but there have been days when it’s been 9am and then 5pm and not much work has happened. Sometimes I’m staring out that Velux window for a long time.

‘My usual modus operandi is to go out and engage with the world. You get the headline ideas, but it’s all those little encounters – walking down the street, going in the shop – that produce the infill needed to expand the poems that’s been missing.’

In his latest poem, a commission for BT, Mr Armitage, 57, reflects on the ‘new world’ where ‘you’re at school in the kitchen, at work in the attic, in Ancient Rome in the lounge’. 

His latest work is a commission for BT, who will be replacing radio, press and TV adverts with extracts from the poem today

His latest work is a commission for BT, who will be replacing radio, press and TV adverts with extracts from the poem today

He said the poem took ‘about a month, writing on and off’ to complete. It is more upbeat than the work he released in March, Lockdown, which focused on the outbreak of the bubonic plague in 17th-century Eyam, the Derbyshire village that quarantined itself.

Mr Armitage, married to radio producer Sue Roberts, admitted the arts world is ‘really on its knees’. 

‘It’s very cruel what happening,’ he said. ‘When we come through this it’s a sector that will need particular help.’

BT will be replacing radio, press and TV adverts with extracts from the poem today.

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