Is the 'I' of your poems a fictional character?

There is a kind of fictional Simon Armitage that pops up in a lot of the poems, even those that seem overtly autobiographical. Poets are always complaining that when they use the word 'I' in a poem, readers are very quick to assume that, you know, these are confessional in some way, and it's not always the case. But at the same time I think poets are aware that that 'I' word is a useful little barb in a poem to catch hold of a reader's attention. I suppose I tend to think that there are two versions of me - there's a sort of literary Simon Armitage that I read about in papers, not always in glowing terms, and he makes me smile; and then there's my other life, my kind of home life which is decidedly non-literary. And I'm always playing with the persona of the literary Simon Armitage in the poems and, maybe these two characters sort of blur a little bit. In my book Tyrannosaurus Rex versus the Corduroy Kid, there's a lot of experimenting with the self in that book including a dialect poem which I dedicate to Simon Armitage. That might be seen as being incredibly immodest, but actually, you know, I was thinking of dedicating a poem to a person I didn't really recognise.

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