“You can’t be a writer unless you’re a reader,” says poet Simon Armitage in this Faber film produced for Culture24 and National Poetry Day 2010. He also admits to being a voracious and often jealous reader of other people’s poetry and remembers how the first poem he ever wrote was for a school Christmas project. The teacher didn’t put it up on the wall and since then he’s often wondered if he’s been “pursuing a career of revenge”.
As to his inspiration - most of his poems start as daydreams and ideas, which lead to other ideas before he “snaps out of it and starts writing it down into language”. He likes the idea that you can say a lot with a little bit – poetry he says is “defiant and obstinate” and just in case we hadn't noticed, he tells us that a lot of poets are “signed up members of the awkward squad”.