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Simon Armitage on Marsden: ‘The hills stand far taller than the architecture’

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The poet on growing up in Yorkshire and watching the world from his bedroom window

I grew up in the West Yorkshire village of Marsden at the head of the Colne Valley, a close-knit community of about four thousand people high in the Pennines, last stop before Lancashire. It was an uninterrupted and in some ways uneventful childhood.

As a consequence there was always a tendency to magnify the smaller details and on those rare occasions when something truly dramatic happened – a suspicious death, a sexual scandal, a mill burning down – those incidents became the stuff of fantasy and mythology. My first poems were about Marsden, and my latest collection contains pieces that reference the village, either directly or indirectly.

Related: The Unaccompanied by Simon Armitage review – luminous and unsettling

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