A new collection of poems by Simon Armitage titled Flit has been published by Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The fully illustrated publication celebrates the park’s 40th anniversary in 2017 when he was poet in residence.
The residency saw Armitage, a regular visitor to YSP, choose to explore its landscape, sculptures and buildings in a new light.
Rather than writing a direct commentary on the Park, he has redefined it as its own country, the little-known Ysp (pronounced eesp).
Letting his imagination run wild, Armitage has mapped an elaborate, alternative reality that melds fact and fiction, creating a fanciful existence for both YSP and the poet himself.
The resulting poems tell the story of Ysp through his eyes as an outsider getting to grips with life in an unfamiliar place during a period of self-imposed exile.
Armitage said of the residency: “I wanted to think of myself as a visitor or immigrant to this place, investigating its customs, legends and traditions, wandering with a notebook and observing its latter-day comings and goings.”
From a talking fox to a vengeful sommelier, Armitage navigates through a shadowy cast of characters in a collection that combines an often dark and unsettling atmosphere with the poet’s characteristic dry humour.
The publication is illustrated with Armitage’s own photographs, taken throughout the year, which have been coloured and, in some cases, overlaid with collaged elements from historic engravings.
The 40 poems vary greatly in form and length, from short fragments through to extended free verse, and even include translations from the oeuvre of Ysp’s own renowned but mysterious fellow immigrant poet known only as HK.
Visitors to YSP are invited to see photographs featured in the book, and a film of the poet reading on site at the Park, in a new display in YSP Centre that lasts until Sunday, June 10.
Armitage will read from Flit in a special event at YSP on June 14.
For tickets to that event book online at ysp.org.uk/events