Andrew Motion

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

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Andrew Motion, FRSL, (born October 26, 1952) is an English poet, novelist and biographer who is the current Poet Laureate. His poems are known for the insightful way in which they explore loss and desolation.

Raised in Stisted near Braintree in Essex, he was educated at Radley College. When he was 16, his mother had a riding accident and spent the next ten years in and out of a coma before she died. In the years that followed, he read English at University College, Oxford, and studied the poetry of Edward Thomas for his MLitt. degree. Motion has said that he tried to keep his memory of his mother alive through poetry.

Andrew Motion is a member of the Arts Council of England and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Beside the prizes mentioned above, he has won the Arvon/Observer Prize, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize. He is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London.

In 2003, Motion wrote a poem in protest at Invasion of Iraq called "Regime Change;" the poem is told from the third person point of view, showing a speech made by Death in the streets of Iraq.

In 2005 he helped to bring online The Poetry Archive containing both historic and contemporary recordings of poets reciting their own work.


  • 1975: won the Newdigate prize for Oxford undergraduate poetry
  • 1976: further poetry published
  • 1976 - 1980: taught English at the University of Hull
  • 1980 - 1982: edited the Poetry Review
  • 1981: wins Arvon international poetry competition with "The Letter"
  • 1982: edits, with Blake Morrison, the Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry
  • 1982 - 1989: Editorial Director and Poetry Editor at Chatto & Windus
  • 1986: The Lamberts wins the Somerset Maugham Award
  • 1989: Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia
  • 1994: Philip Larkin: A Writer’s Life wins the Whitbread Prize for Biography
  • 1999: appointed Poet Laureate for ten years only
  • 2003: appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London
  • 2003: Wrote this poem as an 'A' side for Prince Williams 21st birthday:

Better stand back Here's an age attack, But the second in line Is dealing with it fine.

It's a threshold, a gateway, A landmark birthday; It's a turning of the page, A coming of age.

It's a day to celebrate, A destiny, a fate; It's a taking to the wing, A future thing.

Better stand back Here's an age attack, But the second in line Is dealing with it fine.

It's a sign of what's to come, A start, and then some; It's a difference growing, A younger sort of knowing.

It's a childhood gone, A step towards the crown; It's a trigger of change, A stretching of the range.

Better stand back Here's an age attack, But the second in line Is dealing with it fine.


Note: this list is not complete

  • 1972 Goodnestone : a sequence (a series of 18 untitled poems)
  • 1978 The Pleasure Steamers - poetry
  • 1981 Independence - poetry
  • 1986 Elizabeth Bishop (Chatterton Lectures on an English Poet)
  • 1987 Natural Causes - poetry
  • 1988 Philip Larkin (Contemporary Writers)
  • 1989 The Pale Companion - fiction
  • 1992 Famous for the Creatures
  • 1993 Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life (biography)
  • 1995 The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit (biography)
  • 1995 The Price of Everything
  • 1997 Salt Water - poetry
  • 1998 Keats (biography)
  • 1998 Take 20
  • 1998 Sarah Raphael: Strip!
  • 1999 Selected Poems 1976-1997
  • 1999 Babel
  • 2000 Wainewright the Poisoner: The Confessions of Thomas Griffiths Wainewright (biographical novel)
  • 2002 Public Property (poetry)
  • 2003 The Invention of Dr Cake
  • 2005 Spring Wedding (poem in honour of the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles)

Dates unclear:

  • Secret narratives
  • Dangerous play: poems, 1974-1984
  • Love in a life
  • Firsthand

Edited works / Introductions:

  • Thomas Hardy: Selected Poems (Everyman Library) (Editor)
  • 1994 New Writing 3 by Andrew Motion, Candice Rodd (Editor) (reprinted '94)
  • 1981 Poetry of Edward Thomas
  • Verses of the Poets Laureate: From John Dryden to Andrew Motion by Hilary Laurie (Compiler), Andrew Motion (Introduction) (Paperback - September 1999)
  • 1982 The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry by Ed. Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion
  • 1981 Selected Poems: William Barnes (Penguin Classics) Andrew Motion (Editor)
  • Here to Eternity: An Anthology of Poetry by Andrew Motion (Editor)
  • Paper Scissors Stone: New Writing from the MA in Creative Writing at UEA by Andrew Motion (Introduction) (Paperback)
  • May Anthology 2002 Poetry and Prose by Andrew Motion (Editor), Nick Cave (Editor) (Paperback)
  • The Creative Writing Coursebook: Forty Authors Share Advice and Exercises for Fiction & Poetry by Julia Bell (Editor), Andrew Motion (Foreword)
  • The Mays
  • Andrew Motion at
  • Preceded by
    Ted Hughes
    British Poet Laureate
    Succeeded by
    current incumbent
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