Poet laureate plans 10-year tour of nation's libraries and new Marsden collection
The poet laureate, Simon Armitage, has announced a 10-year tour of the UK’s libraries, starting in 2020 with libraries beginning with the letter A or B. Next year he will also be launching a new collection of poetry, Magnetic Field, which gathers together his poems on Marsden, the village where he grew up and began life as a writer.
Over a week in each spring for the next decade, he plans to give readings in libraries across the UK, from libraries in big cities to smaller or mobile libraries serving rural areas. Using the alphabet as a guide, the journey will involve local communities, poets and students at each stop along the way, and will celebrate the library as one of our great and necessary institutions.
Simon Armitage’s library week will take place next year from 16-20 March. Libraries are invited to get in touch to arrange a visit. They can include private or independent libraries or those in schools, universities, prisons or hospitals. The poet laureate’s website says: “If your library is a mobile library, a home library service or a book swap in a railway station, parish hall or phone box, then we will need to be creative about the poetry reading but please don’t let that stop you suggesting a visit and event.”
At each library he visits he plans to give a one-hour poetry reading which includes audience Q&A. In addition, he will invite a guest poet to perform. There will be no charge to libraries for the performances by Armitage or the guest poet, or for their travel expenses and any accommodation costs that may be necessary. The tour is being funded by the T S Eliot Estate, and Simon Armitage’s long-time publishers Faber & Faber.
Armitage said: “My experience of reading and writing began in the village library where I grew up, then in the nearby town library, then in libraries at various places of study and teaching.”
PHOTOGRAPH: KEVIN SMTIH