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The Power of Poetry: Simon Armitage

8 March 2023
6.30pm – 7.30pm AEDT
Roundhouse, UNSW Sydney
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Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage | Sean Pryor

“It’s kind of unkillable, poetry. It’s our most ancient artform and I think it’s more relevant today than ever, because it’s one person saying what they really believe.” – Simon Armitage 

The right poem can be a life raft. In fact, as a way to better understand ourselves and the world, nothing else comes close. For too long, reading poetry has been considered a luxury, but in these trying times, the act of slowing down to enjoy a good poem should be considered as a necessity.  

Simon Armitage has dedicated his life to understanding our world through prose, and was named Britain’s poet Laureate in 2019 – the highest office in poetry. He has since penned poems in response to the war in the Ukraine, COP26 and the impending climate crisis, and the pandemic.  

So how can we carve out a space to enjoy more poetry? And what can these poems reveal about our world and our places in it? Join Simon Armitage for a live reading and an evening of conversation with UNSW Associate Professor in English Sean Pryor, about his impressive career as British poet Laureate, and how he’ll continue to use poetry to seek truth and justice.  

This event is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and supported by the Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture and Adelaide Writers’ Week.  


The Roundhouse is located at UNSW Sydney's Kensington Campus. Please note this is a live event only, and will not be available via livestream.  

To ensure the health and safety of all patrons, face masks are recommended and please do not attend the event if you feel unwell.






Wheelchair Access
The closest accessible drop off point to the Roundhouse is the north entrance via High Street, Gate 2, follow the road to Third Avenue and turn onto 1st Avenue West. More information on getting there can be found via our interactive accessibility map available here

Assisted Listening
The Roundhouse has a hearing loop. Patrons wishing to utilise this need to simply switch their hearing aid to the T (Telecoil) setting to pick up on the wireless signal. 

Auslan & Captioning 
Auslan interpreting services and/or live captioning can be provided for selected talks upon request. 

To discuss access requirements and book selected services, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email


The Roundhouse is easily accessible via public transport. For more information call the Transport Infoline on 131 500 or visit

Paid casual and visitor parking is offered via the CellOPark App and ‘pay by plate meters’. For more information head here



For all enquiries, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9065 0485. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9065 0485. Internet relay users, visit, then ask for 02 9065 0485. 

Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage was born and grew up in West Yorkshire. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry and the PEN Prize for Translation. He has published over a dozen poetry collections, including Magnetic Field, and acclaimed medieval translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Owl and the Nightingale. He is the author of two novels and three non-fiction bestsellers: All Points North, Walking Home and Walking Away. A regular broadcaster, Armitage presents the popular BBC Radio 4’s series The Poet Laureate has Gone to his Shed. He writes extensively for television and radio, most recently for BBC 2’s Where Did The World Go, A Pandemic Poem. An award-winning dramatist, his play The Last Days of Troy was performed at Shakespeare's Globe. He writes, records and performs with the band LYR and has received an Ivor Novello Award for his song writing. Armitage is Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds. His critical book A Vertical Art brings together the vibrant and engaging lectures from his tenure as Oxford Professor of Poetry (2015-2019). 

Sean Pryor

Sean Pryor

Sean Pryor is an Associate Professor in English in the School of the Arts & Media at UNSW Sydney. He joined UNSW in 2008, as the holder of a Faculty Postdoctoral Fellowship and was appointed a Lecturer in English in 2010. He was awarded a three-year ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2011, for a project on the cultural archetype of the Fall in modernist poetry. He was the Acting Director and then Deputy Director of the Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia at UNSW, and since 2013 has been a co-editor of Affirmations: of the modern, an open-access journal of modern literature and culture. In 2021, Affirmations became the official journal of the Australian Modernist Studies Network.