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Portsmouth alumnus is new Professor of Poetry

Simon Armitage.  Image credit: Paul Wolfgang Webster

Simon Armitage.
Image credit: Paul Wolfgang Webster

The University’s most famous literary alumnus, the poet Simon Armitage, has been appointed Oxford’s new Professor of Poetry.

Simon Armitage studied Geography at the University in the early 1980s and went on to a very successful career as a poet, playwright and novelist. He was awarded an honorary doctor of letters from the University in 1996 and was awarded a CBE for services to poetry in 2010.

Armitage is the author of over a dozen collections of poetry, most recently Paper Aeroplane – Selected Poems 1989 – 2014, drawing on 25 years of published work.

He saw off competition for the post from poets including Wole Soyinka and AE Stallings, securing 1,221 of the 3,340 votes cast.

In his candidate statement he said: “If Oxford saw fit to appoint a self-schooled poet who views poetry from a hill above a Yorkshire village, then I would be greatly excited and deeply honoured to take on the challenge.”

Previous holders of the post include John Keble, Matthew Arnold, W.H. Auden, Robert Graves, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, and Christopher Ricks.

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  1. Is someone who studied Geography considered a literary alumnus? Seems a bit of a stretch claiming any direct influence on his success after leaving!

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