Boys wax lyrical after visit of Poet Laureate

Boys at Tonbridge School said they were excited and inspired by the visit to the school of Poet Laureate Simon Armitage on Wednesday (13 November).

During the day, Simon held a creative writing workshop where he gave boys tips and advice on their own story-writing and poetry.

He also took part in a question and answer session with Lower Sixth students who are studying two of his works, The Unaccompanied and The Dead Sea Poems, for their English A-level. 

In the evening, he gave a reading at the school’s EM Forster Theatre in a sold-out event which included a book signing and questions from the audience.

Archie Capon, a keen writer from the Upper Sixth who took part in the creative writing workshop and attended the reading, said he found the poet’s visit to be inspirational and thoroughly enjoyable. “It was probably the best experience of my life so far,” he added.

English teacher Peter Carpenter said: “It was a wonderful thing to see the EM Forster Theatre jammed full for a poetry event, and Simon’s workshop was inspirational too.”

This was Simon’s third visit to Tonbridge, but his first since being appointed Poet Laureate in May. After acclaimed translations of The Odyssey, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Death of Arthur, he is currently working on a version of The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest recorded poems. He also spoke to boys about his most recent collection, Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic.

In 2010, Simon received a CBE for his services to poetry.