The Unaccompanied


Simon Armitage

Praised for his powerfully inventive, influential verse, Simon Armitage has resided at the heart of British poetry for more than a quarter century. Throughout, his work has celebrated range and adaptability, most recently in the prose poems of ‘Seeing Stars’ (2010), the dramatisation of ‘The Last Days of Troy’ (2014) and the translation of medieval ‘Pearl’ (2016). But ‘The Unaccompanied’, his eleventh single volume, is a return to Armitage’s trademark contemporary lyricism. Warm, knowing, generous, and moving, the poems in this new collection combine wit and mischief with heart-stopping honesty, and mark out ‘The Unaccompanied’ as a major publication by a writer the Observer has described as ‘the best poet of his generation.’

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‘The most popular English poet since Larkin.’ Sunday Times

After more than a decade and following his celebrated adventures in drama, translation, travel writing and prose poetry, Simon Armitage’s eleventh collection of poems heralds a return to his trademark contemporary lyricism. The pieces in this multi-textured and moving volume are set against a backdrop of economic recession and social division, where mass media, the mass market and globalisation have made alienation a commonplace experience and where the solitary imagination drifts and conjures.

The Unaccompanied documents a world on the brink, a world of unreliable seasons and unstable coordinates, where Odysseus stalks the aisles of cut-price supermarkets in search of direction, where the star of Bethlehem rises over industrial Yorkshire, and where alarm bells for ailing communities go unheeded or unheard. Looking for certainty the mind gravitates to recollections of upbringing and family, only to encounter more unrecoverable worlds, shaped as ever through Armitage’s gifts for clarity and detail as well as his characteristic dead-pan wit. Insightful, relevant and empathetic, these poems confirm The Unaccompanied as a bold new statement of intent by one of our most respected and recognised living poets.

‘A writer who has had a game-changing influence on his contemporaries.’ Guardian

‘Armitage is that rare beast: a poet whose work is ambitious, accomplished and complex as well as popular.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘The best poet of his generation.’ Craig Raine, Observer

Additional information

Weight 240 g
Dimensions 22.3 × 14.5 × 1.3 cm


Faber & Faber









821.92 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K