Simon Armitage was born in 1963 in Marsden, Yorkshire, and is Professor of Poetry at Sheffield University.
He has published ten collections of poetry including Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid (Faber & Faber) and his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Death of King Arthur.
His awards include one of the first Forward Prizes, The Sunday Times Young Author of the Year, a Lannan Award, and an Ivor Novello Award for his song-writing in the BAFTA-winning film Feltham Sings.
He is also a playwright, novelist, regular broadcaster. His most recent prose memoir was his epic Pennine Way book, Walking Back Home.
'Returning to the pamphlet form, and the pamphlet publisher, which first launched Simon Armitage’s remarkable career the variety in this collection almost feels like a lap of honour. Quietly ironised monologues, flashes of startlingly apt imagery, and a dry but never arid sense of humour are typical of the poems in The Motorway Service Station.' — The British Library
'The front man of his generation…The most imaginative and prolific poet now writing.' — Poetry Review
'Armitage’s skill is to reach beyond the prosaic for deeper mysteries…(he) speaks with an utter lack of sentimentality or pomposity of the transcendent mysteries that lie beyond the ordinary moment.' — The Times
Interview with Simon
THE ENGLISH ASTRONAUT
He splashed down in rough seas off Spurn Point.
I watched through a coin-op telescope jammed
with a lollipop stick as a trawler fished him out
of the waves and ferried him back to Mission
Control on a trading estate near the Humber
Bridge. He spoke with a mild voice: yes, it was
good to be home; he’d missed his wife, the kids,
couldn’t wait for a shave and a hot bath. ‘Are
there any more questions?’ No, there were not.
I followed him in his Honda Accord to a Little
Chef on the A1, took the table opposite, watched
him order the all-day breakfast and a pot of tea.
‘You need to go outside to do that,’ said the
waitress when he lit a cigarette. He read the
paper, started the crossword, poked at the black
pudding with his fork. Then he stared through
the window for long unbroken minutes at a time,
but only at the busy road, never the sky. And his
face was not the moon. And his hands were not
the hands of a man who had held between finger
and thumb the blue planet, and lifted it up to his
— Simon Armitage, The Motorway Service Station as a Destination in its Own Right (Smith/Doorstop, 2010)