It is quite obvious from my last posts here that I am utterly in love with Simon Armitage’s poetry. I have just finished his marvelous Modern English version of the Old English manuscript Alliterative Morte Arthure. The only available copy is now at Lincoln Cathedral.
As Armitage says in the introduction,
The Alliterative Morte Arthure is hardly a story of suspense since its outcome is announced in its very title, but the manner of the King’s death and the way in which every incident right from the opening passages are bound up in its conclusion are examples of sophisticated literary structure and storytelling as its very best.
And so is Armitage’s version of the poem. It is indeed poetry at its very best. The way he plays with the alliterative form – the liberties he takes with it – is simply brilliant. It is narrative poetry that keeps you reading even knowing the end because the skill of the storyteller keeps you hooked and because the way Armitage plays with the vocabulary is a delight for those who love the English language.
Read The Guardian Review
Armitage, S. (trans) (2012) The Death of King Arthur. London: Faber and Faber.