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Former UK Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion reads and describes his short poem “Peewit” in his Baltimore home in 2019.

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Andrew Motion
Andrew Motion

Sir Andrew Motion is a preeminent poet, novelist, and biographer. He served as the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009 and received a knighthood in 2009.

Motion was born in London in 1952. He attended Oxford University, where he studied with W.H. Auden. He taught English at the University of Hull, where he met another illustrious poet, Philip Larkin. His 1993 biography of Larkin won the Whitbread Prize for Biography.

Known for his lyrical yet understated narrative verse, Motion began publishing poems while at Oxford, and released his first of nearly twenty collections in 1978. In 1999, he was named Poet Laureate of the UK, following in the footsteps of such luminaries as William Wordsworth, Lord Tennyson, and Ted Hughes. Unlike his predecessors, who served lifelong terms, Motion announced he would take the post for only a decade, during which time he played an active role in British cultural life.

While laureate, he founded the Poetry Archive, an online archive of poets reciting their own work. He has taught poetry at Johns Hopkins University since 2016.