‘Armitage now has an agent who manages the performing side of his life; he estimates he says yes to about 50% of requests.’
—‘Simon Armitage: Making Poetry Pay,’ by Aida Edemariam, The Guardian, 26 May 2015
Fifty per cent of requests granted! This is very exciting insider knowledge that we have gained about one of Britain’s leading poets. In essence, this means that if we send requests to Armitage’s publicist asking him to
1) translate John Steinbeck’s novella The Pearl into Middle English (now that he has finished translating the Middle English alliterative poem Pearl into modern English),
2) give up poetry for a year, then write another wry memoir about the experience,
3) star in an eight-hour arthouse film of him posing as The Angel of the North, à la Warhol’s 1964 film Empire,
4) go grave-robbing with Richard Dawkins, as described in his poem ‘The Experience,’
5) fight fellow tyke Ian McMillan onstage at the West Yorkshire Playhouse (by throwing Terry’s Chocolate Oranges at each other at ten paces), and
6) eat one of the Pennines for charity,
Armitage is sort of obliged to agree to three of them. (At the minimum, two.) That’s just simple statistics and being a man of your word.
Have some other ideas about what you’d like Simon to do? Leave further suggestions in the comments.