Simon Armitage's new collection is by turns a voice and a chorus: a hyper-vivid array of dramatic monologues, allegories, parables and tall tales. The storyteller who steps in and out of this human tapestry changes, trickster-style, from poem to poem, but retains some identifying traits: the melancholy of the less deceived, crossed with an undercover idealism. And he shares with many of his characters a star-gazing capacity for belief, or for being 'genuine in his disbelief'.
Language is on the loose in these poems, which cut and run across the parterre of poetic decorum with their cartoon-strip energies and air of misrule. Armitage creates world after world, peculiar yet always particular, where the only certainty is the unexpected.
Simon Armitage was born in West Yorkshire in 1963. In 1992 he was winner of one of the first Forward Prizes, and a year later was the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. Among his collections of poetry are Kid, Book of Matches, The Universal Home Doctor, Tyrannosaurus Rex versus The Corduroy Kid and Seeing Stars. His acclaimed translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was published in 2007.