Poetry News

Simon Armitage Will Trade Poems for Board on 260-Mile Walk Along English Coast

By Harriet Staff

Simon Armitage, British poet, playwright and novelist

English poet Simon Armitage, in the spirits of W. G. Sebald and Richard Holmes, will "walk the 260-mile path along England’s coast this summer, bartering his words for hospitality," as the New York Daily News reports. More:

Armitage was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2012 and has won numerous other awards including the Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry.

"The whole idea is that of the barter. All I've got to offer is my work, and the reading of it," he said to the Guardian. "Will that be enough for people to say I can stay at their home, or that they'll give me some sandwiches? I'm looking for anyone who can tolerate me . . .”

Armitage, who walked the Pennine Way in 2010, will depart from Minehead, a coastal town in Somerset, on Aug. 29 and plans to arrive in Land’s End, Apeninsula of southwest England on the coast of Cornwall, on Sept. 17.

According to the Guardian, Armitage's Pennine walk inspired the book “Walking Home,” and he is planning to write a follow-up, "Walking Away," about his journey through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

"The first book turned out to be about people and their stories, and that's what I'm hoping to find this time," he said.

Armitage hopes locals will join him on his walk, though he acknowledges the importance of “Wordsworthian moments of tranquility.”

Jacket Copy writes that Armitage is also looking for "someone to 'sherpa' his 'unfashionable turquoise suitcase' between stops."

Originally Published: February 26th, 2013