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Yorkshire Sculpture Park publishes 40th anniversary collection of poems by renowned poet Simon Armitage

14 Mar 2018

This month, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) will publish Flit, a new collection by the renowned poet Simon Armitage. The fully illustrated publication comprises 40 poems by Armitage, who was poet in residence at YSP throughout 2017, its 40th anniversary year.

The residency saw Armitage, a regular visitor to YSP, choose to explore its landscape, sculptures and buildings in a new light. Rather than writing a direct commentary on the Park, he has redefined it as its own country, the little-known Ysp (pronounced eesp). Letting his imagination run wild, Armitage has mapped an elaborate, alternative reality that melds fact and fiction,  creating a fanciful existence for both YSP and the poet himself. The resulting poems tell the story of Ysp through his eyes as an outsider getting to grips with life in an unfamiliar place during a period of self-imposed exile.

“Disillusioned by the domestic cultural scene and in search of a more depersonalised aesthetic, Armitage relocated to the small mid-European state of Ysp, and more particularly to its eponymous capital city. With no local contacts and only an out-dated pocket dictionary to hand, Armitage rented a small apartment in a former leprosy hospital and spent a year exploring Ysp’s medieval backstreets, latter-day shopping malls, housing districts, redeveloped docks and rural hinterlands.”

Armitage said of the residency: “I wanted to think of myself as a visitor or immigrant to this place, investigating its customs, legends and traditions, wandering with a notebook and observing its latter-day comings and goings.” From a talking fox to a vengeful sommelier, Armitage navigates through a shadowy cast of characters in a collection that combines an often dark and unsettling atmosphere with the poet’s characteristic dry humour.

The publication is illustrated with Armitage’s own photographs, taken throughout the year, which have been coloured and, in some cases, overlaid with collaged elements from historic engravings. The 40 poems vary greatly in form and length, from short fragments through to extended free verse, and even include translations from the oeuvre of Ysp’s own renowned but mysterious fellow immigrant poet known only as HK.

Visitors to YSP are invited to see photographs featured in the book, and a film of the poet reading on site at the Park, in a new display in YSP Centre from Monday 19 March to Sunday 10 June 2018. Armitage will read from Flit in a special event at YSP on 14 June 2018 – book online at ysp.org.uk/events.
 

High Res Image Downloads

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Simon Armitage, Flit

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Simon Armitage, Flit published by Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Image courtesy the artist

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Simon Armitage, Flit published by Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Image courtesy the artist

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Simon Armitage at YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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