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The poetic travels of Simon Armitage.

Summary: Novelist and playwright throws light on his creative journey at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

Razmig Bedirian, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Poet Simon Armitage says he was always interested in land and people's relationship with it. Having studied Geography in university, the land has a special place in his writing.

"It can be very difficult to find that balance between the need to be alone, to think and daydream and the need to connect with the world and people," he said, adding that walking helps him find a balance between the two, as he frequently meets "nutty" people, who inspire his work.

Armitage was speaking at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on Friday during a session entitled "Meter by Metre: The Poetic Travels of Simon Armitage."

Besides being a poet, Armitage is also a novelist and playwright.

Speaking of his novel, Walking Home, Armitage recollected some of his adventures as he took to the road as a penniless troubadour, walking the Pennine Way and meeting his expenses with poetry while enjoying all the gifts the British climate could offer. In Walking Away, he repeated the experiment along the South West Coast Path.

Armitage said daydreaming was an essential part of his creative process. "While daydreaming, you can find ideas have a poetic format. It's strange to say but it's when language comes into the picture it becomes problematic. Language is the problem."

Armitage said when he gives his poems in for publishing he expects for them to be framed on the page, not printed. "Prose kind of just fills the page; it pours from the top," he said. "Poetry is different as it finds its space on the page. Poetry is language in zero gravity."

On giving a poetry reading in the desert, Armitage said he found an authenticity that was exclusive to the setting.

"Although we were in a camp set up for tourist purposes, there were images like the sickle moon hung over a dune and the dew forming on top of books," he said, adding that authenticity could be found anywhere, even in synthetic settings.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Mar 11, 2016
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