Simon Armitage

Fresh from his Bafta award for millennium poem Killing Time, poet and novelist Simon Armitage took his audience to some dark places without ever losing his entertaining energy.

Fresh from his Bafta award for millennium poem Killing Time, poet and novelist Simon Armitage took his audience to some dark places without ever losing his entertaining energy.

In a grand wood-panelled room at Hengrave Hall, as part of the Bury St Edmunds Festival, his poems crackled with relentless, energetic language and song-like rhythms.

Armitage drew laughs and winces from the audience. But for all his disturbing subject matter, his chatty down to earth Yorkshire voice and deadpan self-effacing wit made him an accessible, interesting and entertaining host.

Perhaps his most powerful reading came from his 1000-line poem for Killing Time. His description of the Columbine High School shootings in 1999 may have swapped flowers for bullets but none of its poignancy or impact was lost. And the audience was left wanting more.

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