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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Poet Simon Armitage to trade words for food on 260-mile walk this summer

BY Parul Guliani

Poet Simon Armitage is planning to walk the 260-mile path along England’s coast this summer, bartering his words for hospitality. He will offer readings in local pubs, schools and village halls in return for food and shelter.
Armitage was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2012 and has won numerous other awards including the Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry.

"The whole idea is that of the barter. All I've got to offer is my work, and the reading of it," he said to the Guardian. "Will that be enough for people to say I can stay at their home, or that they'll give me some sandwiches? I'm looking for anyone who can tolerate me . . .”
Armitage, who walked the Pennine Way in 2010, will depart from Minehead, a coastal town in Somerset, on Aug. 29 and plans to arrive in Land’s End, Apeninsula of southwest England on the coast of Cornwall, on Sept. 17.
According to the Guardian, Armitage's Pennine walk inspired the book “Walking Home,” and he is planning to write a follow-up, "Walking Away," about his journey through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
"The first book turned out to be about people and their stories, and that's what I'm hoping to find this time," he said.
Armitage hopes locals will join him on his walk, though he acknowledges the importance of “Wordsworthian moments of tranquility.”
Armitage isn't the first to come up with such a conceit. Other famous walking books include Robert Macfarlane’s "The Old Ways" and Rory Stewart’s "The Places in Between."
"Armitage’s account is so observant, so funny and so intensely likeable you leave it wishing he’d picked a longer route," the Telegraph wrote of "Walking Home."
Let's see if he's able to accomplish the same feat for a second time.


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