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Welcome to the University of Portsmouth Alumni Association blog.

Alumnus and poet Simon Armitage returns to the University

The University’s most famous literary alumnus, the poet Simon Armitage, returned to Portsmouth in November last year to give a poetry reading to a lecture theatre full of students, staff, alumni and members of the public.

Simon Armitage studied Geography at the University in the early 1980s and went on to have a very successful career as a poet, playwright and novelist. In 2010 he was awarded a CBE for services to poetry.  He is the author of 12 volumes of verse including Seeing Stars and Black Roses and has become one of England’s most respected poets.

Dr Páraic Finnerty, from the School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies, was delighted to welcome the famous poet back to the University. He said:  “Simon Armitage’s poetry reading is very significant because it is a reminder to our staff and students that their university fostered, shaped and influenced one of the most successful and respected contemporary British poets, who has an international reputation for literary excellence.

“Not only is Simon one of Britain’s most admired contemporary poets, he is also a wonderful reader of poetry who has a reputation for making his poetry come alive.

“Combining comedy and pathos, Simon’s poems capture the realities of everyday life and do not shy away from its darker and more absurd sides. His poems are incredibly funny, but they are also very insightful and represent powerful statements of social protest on behalf of those who are disadvantaged in society.”

Alumnus Michael Newey gives a public lecture