Andrew Motion

  
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'I would like to see poets associated with all sorts of surprising places, everywhere from zoos to football clubs ' Andrew Motion

Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate (1999-09), introduces his eagerly awaited sequel  - Silver  ~  Return to Treasure Island - featuring a cast of noble seamen, murderous pirates and tales of love, valour & terrible cruelty.

Treasure Island is a book I have loved since childhood: it is a cornerstone of my reading, and of my imagination. Excitement, mystery, intrigue, suspense, pathos and human sympathy: Stevenson combines all these things. I have tried to do the same - in a story which honours his original genius, but at the same time sails its own course.’ 

July, 1802. In the marshy eastern reaches of the Thames lies The Hispaniola, an inn kept by Jim Hawkins and his son. Young Jim spends his days roaming the mist-shrouded estuaries, running errands for his father and listening to stories in the taproom; tales of adventures on the high seas, of curses, murder and revenge, black spots and buried treasure - and of a man with a wooden leg.

Andrew Motion's latest collection of poems is The Cinder Path (Faber) and Ways of Life: Places, Painters and Poets (Faber) is his latest collection of essays.

Andrew Motion was born in 1952. He read English at University College, Oxford and subsequently spent two years writing about the poetry of Edward Thomas for an M. Litt. From 1976 to 1980 he taught English at the University of Hull; from 1980 to 1982 he edited the Poetry Review and from 1982 to 1989 he was Editorial Director and Poetry Editor at Chatto & Windus. He is now Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in London. 

Andrew Motion has been chosen to judge this year's Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Sir Andrew is a council member of the Advertising Standards Authority and, since July, Chairman of the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council.

Andrew Motion was Poet Laureate from 1999 until 2009. He was knighted for his services to literature in 2009.

Andrew Motion’s work has received the Arvon/Observer Prize, the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize, the De Moffart Art Prize (2006) and the Dylan Thomas Prize. In 1994 his biography of Philip Larkin was awarded the Whitbread Prize for Biography, and shortlisted for the NCR Award. The Lamberts won the Somerset Maugham Award. 

'Compelling, simple & mysterious' Sean O'Brien Sunday Times
'His voice is unlike any other' Lavinia Greenlaw New Statesman & Society
'Motion is a beautiful lyricist unpretentiously and precisely describing those things worth having even as he casts unsettling shadows across them' Robert Potts The Guardian

In addition to making regular visits to schools and Festivals, he has also co-founded The Poetry Archive, a web-based collection of poets reading their work which will have a significant value for general readers as well as teachers and students (it includes a dedicated 'education zone'). www.poetryarchive.org  

“The best poems are those which speak to us about the important things in our lives in a way that we never forget. Any heavier definition than that begins to collapse under its own weight and exclude many forms of poetry. But we live in a very diverse culture and the great opportunity that poetry has now is to make sure that all its various voices have an equal and proper space given to them. In this way, they can link up with the lives from which they arose in the first place.”

"The idea of a living poet coming to the school and talking about their work was absolutely unimaginable when I was growing up. It wasn't quite as bad as saying that the only good poets were dead poets but it was nearly like that."

Andrew Motion


In The Blood (Faber)
' This is a marvellous book. It describes rural upper class England with exactness, candour and humour … Finally, and most importantly, it's a wonderful read. Every word, sentence and chapter, one drinks down with joy because it is so artfully and beautifully composed.’ Carlo Gebler, Irish Times

‘It is the work of the poet to redeem our awareness of the mystery and complexity of the commonplace, and In The Blood does this wonderfully … Shadowed by loss, Motion’s recollections of the people and animals and weather that flicker across the East Anglian countryside become more vivid, because these treasured lives and moments are so perishable. The book's triumph, however, is to show that, alongside this sense of the transience of our individual concerns, something else emerges, something not to be understood in the ordinary way but sensed, accepted and, as a single fabric of beauty and wonder, hurt and dismay, celebrated.’ John Burnside, Scotland on Sunday 

‘Exquisitely written … Memory is the dominant theme, and the pool from which Andrew Motion draws is clear and deep, enabling him to fix experience in unusually minute and textured detail.’ Selina Hastings, Sunday Telegraph

‘A beautifully evocative memoir of [Andrew Motion’s] East Anglia childhood, made all the more potent by the event that abruptly ended it … he looks back across the years with an extraordinary vividness.’ Susan Mansfield, Scotsman

In the Blood is Motion’s elegy for his lost childhood and his lost mother. It is also the portrait of a whole English world that thought it was finished. And last, but far from least, it’s the story of the growth of a writer … Motion doesn’t attempt to explain: he has decided only to tell, and to tell from the point of view of the child he was, not of the man looking back. This he does very well. He captures with quivering clarity his childish bewilderment, his adolescent self-consciousness and – always – the isolation in his own imagination of the born writer … [His mother] made him a writer – her storytelling, her (half)culture, but most of all her loss. All of Andrew Motion’s writing is a form of mourning for his mother, and this book shows us why.’ Carole Angier, Literary Review 

‘An incredible story, written with courage, sensitivity and humour.’ Julie Myerson, She Magazine

‘The great value of a memoir such as this is not only its revelation of someone else’s experiences, someone else’s consciousness, but the realisation of how much we share. He does write beautifully, of course, but I expected that; what’s given me even more pleasure is the amber-like quality of his memory, and the things I found myself recalling in sympathy.’ Philip Pullman

‘Deeply engaging … the innocence and the hardness of childhood are beautifully put together ... it’s a strikingly good book, framed by tragedy but full of intense life.’ Helen Dunmore

  
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Page last updated: 18 February 2012