In honour of National Poetry Day we asked our Creative Writing
Lecturers to suggest the names of five poets you should be reading, watching and listening to right now. Here's what they came up with:
Simon Armitage is the current poet Laureate (until 2029). Why should you read Simon Armitage? He's accessible, his work is a mix of dry Yorkshire wit (he's from Huddersfield), poignancy and universal subject matter such as love, death, violence and masculinity.
Armitage worked as a probation officer for six years and is a music enthusiast, with both featuring in his work. An excellent example of his work, "You may turn over and Begin" is based on his General Studies 'A' Level exam and its conflicting nature with his internal thoughts.
Simon Armitage performing 'Thank you for waiting'
Alice Oswald is the newly appointed Oxford Professor of Poetry. In 2002 Oswald wrote a book length poem about the River Dart in Devon. Dart was written from the multiple perspectives of river workers, plumbers, air purifiers, monks from Buckfastleigh and so many more. Oswald states that "all [the] voices should be read as the river's mutterings" and her poem follows the river from its birth at the Cranmere Pool all the way to its mouth at the sea.
Former Children's Poet Laureate and author of We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Micheal Rosen, is a prolific writer whose work features pared down prose and hilarious tales. His poems are often written from a child's perspective, using call and response techniques, onamatapeic noises and gesticulation. Older readers often relate to his poetry from their own childhood experiences. Michael performed at the 2017 Beeline Festival in Worcester and performed at The Hive in 2017.
Michael Rosen performing his poem 'Tomato 1.'
British-Jamaican spoken word poet Raymond Antrobus, recently won the Ted Hughes award for his anthology The Perseverance. Antrobus has performed at Glastonbury and his poems explore the nature of his own deafness alongside elegies for his father, hybrid identity and pop culture references. The content ranges across continents and history. The Perseverance includes a copy of the Ted Hughes' poem 'Deaf School' in which Hughes described the deaf children as "Their faces were alert and simple / like little animals." Antrobus responds to this poem, after erasing it with black lines, stating “Ted is alert and simple" and challenging the portrayal of children with hearing disabilities.
'The First Time I wore Hearing Aids' by Raymond Antrobus
Bilston is often described as the “Poet Laureate of Twitter.” He recently read at Ledbury Poetry Festival and his work bridges a gap between witty, astute, observational utterances and Frank Sidebottom. Poems like "Clarkson Apologist" caution the reader to beware a familiar character in our society, "He's the kind of man who says/global warming doesn't exist" and "Every night he drives home/ his terrain response Range Rover pissed." His subject matter is broad ranging from the historical and serious to the whimscal ridiculous. He's a firm favourite.
So that's the 5 poets we think you should be watching out for right now. There are so many more incredible poets, performers and authors out there for you to investigate. If you'd like to learn more about writing your own poetry you may be interested in our Creative Writing BA (Hons) course which, at the time of writing, features modules on Slam, Spoken Word and Performance Poetry.