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In a new BBC Radio 4 podcast, the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage is joined by guests Kate Tempest, Antony Gormley, Lily Cole, Maxine Peake, Guy Garvey and more.

Simon Armitage became Poet Laureate in May 2019, since his appointment his poetry has commemorated the moon landings, celebrated the Cumbrian countryside and paid homage to Keats. Now, in the first podcast from a Poet Laureate, Simon lets us into his creative inner sanctum – the humble garden shed.

Surrounded to all sides by the Pennine hills and the Pennine weather, Simon welcomes, even encourages, the distractions his guests offer through talk of music, art, sheds, sherry, and his latest poetic undertaking: a translation of the Middle English poem The Owl And The Nightingale.

Over 12 episodes guests include acclaimed spoken word performer Kate Tempest, Turner Prize recipient Antony Gormley, model and actress Lily Cole, DJ and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey, actress Maxine Peake, poet Jackie Kay, and world-record beat-boxing champion, Testament.

Sam Lee – the Mercury Prize short-listed folk singer – tries to get Simon out of the shed to join one of his trips in the woods to sing with Nightingales, and Trinidadian judge Melanie Plimmer casts a judicious eye over the arguments of the two poetic birds.

Simon Armitage says: “It’s been a great pleasure and great fun to throw open the doors (ok, door) of the shed to so many creative and inspiring visitors. I think most of them thought the shed was just a metaphor for something more comfortable or literary. But it’s an actual shed, with spiders and a lawnmower.”

Rhian Roberts, Radio 4 Commissioning Editor for Digital and Podcasts, adds: “Great minds meet in the shed in this new Radio 4 podcast and we get to understand a little bit more about how those creative minds really work. It’s a lovely setting. The shed brings out something different, it’s a disarming and comforting space with a welcoming vibe all of its own.”

The Poet Laureate Has Gone To His Shed, produced by Sue Roberts, will be available on BBC Sounds from 11 March, updated weekly with each new episode featuring one of Simon’s guests.