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Simon Armitage is one of the most famous and widely praised contemporary poets.

His poetry
is representative of the general characteristics contemporary poetry is known for. The
language in his poems is simple and understandable by everyone and is even found in the
school curriculum. It is written in free verse, and in those unrhymed lines one can see that the
lines follow natural rhythms of the language instead of following the iambic pentameter with
its strict stress.
The fact that contemporary poetry suggests ideas is clearly seen in Armitage's work. The ideas
are not hidden, but they are presented to the reader in order to ask important questions and
challenge the leader into thinking of the meaning behind the poem. His poems are short and
understandable especially when compared to traditional poetry written by, for example, Byron
or Shelley. However it also has some modernist characteristics because it is focusing on the
image and usually details a single idea in detail.
Armitage's poetry is marked by his open and clear presentation of issues and it is often dark
and cynical, which is another modernist element found in his work. His poetry however is
truly contemporary because it presents an issue and allows the reader to analyse it and
complete the statements provided by the poet. The reader should not only pay attention to the
style but also the meaning.
His style is modern but the form of his poems is not completely disconnected from the forms
of the past. Just like Duffy who uses archaic forms such as the Sonnet, Armitage adapts forms
such as the sonnet in addition to using free verse in order to show his ideas. Using an old form
in a new way is a mark of contemporary poetry and it also proves that Armitage is able to
follow both new and formal ways of writing poetry. This way of writing poetry gives him a
chance to form rhymes and lines that would usually be constrained by form and in that way
the poetry becomes accessible to everyone.
The diction used in his poems is characteristic in a way that it is not formal. Armitage's choice
of words is also representative of his approach to accessibility as it contains a lot of slang and
witty language and many words from the vernacular of the northern parts of England where
he is from. This means that his poems are filled with expressions that are heard in everyday
conversations and it brings the issues closer to the reader in an effective way.
In his poems, Simon Armitage explores many themes that are both characteristic of his style
and contemporary poetry. Themes such as violence, anger, depression, alienation, death are all

present and while some might seem out of place, Armitage finds their place in contemporary
society and analyses them in detail.
Armitage's interpretation of the everyday frustration of the working man can be seen in the
poem Hitcher. In short the poem is about a man who is stressed out at work and who is a
captive of his workplace. On his way to work he picks up a hithchiking hippie, whom he then
murders. Armitage explores the themes of jealousy by making the man in the poem jealous of
the hippies free lifestyle. In addition he explores the theme of anger that is kept within us all
and in just waiting for a chance to be released. In Hitcher, Armitage writes in a first person
which makes it seem more real and he also uses colloquial language to further strengthen that
illusion of reality. The language is also very simple and he uses words and phrases such as:
kroolok, stich that, ansaphone.
Armitage uses uncommon events and makes them seem like part of our everyday routine,
pointing out where contemporary society stands right now and in a way criticising
contemporary humans for their lack of humanity.