Former Poet Laureate of Great Britain Comes to Baylor for Poetry Reading

Andrew Motion
Sir Andrew Motion, former U.K. Poet Laureate, will visit Baylor at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday for a poetry reading. (Courtesy photo)
Sept. 13, 2016

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Sept. 13, 2016) – Former Poet Laureate of Great Britain Sir Andrew Motion will visit Baylor University for a poetry reading at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, in the Armstrong Browning Library’s McLean Foyer of Meditation, 710 Speight Ave.

Motion is the author of award-winning poetry, novels, a memoir, anthologies, biographies and works of criticism.

“He is a very accessible writer, by which I mean he writes with clarity and in a way that attempts to speak directly to readers,” said Kevin Gardner, Ph.D., professor and chair of Baylor’s English department. “You won’t have any trouble understanding his poems, at least not their surfaces.”

Motion was selected Poet Laureate of Great Britain in 1999 and was knighted for his services to literature in 2009.

“So, technically, he’s Sir Andrew Motion, and we’re playing host to a knight of the realm!” Gardner said.

Motion is also the founder of the Poetry Archive, an online database of poetry.

“More than 300,000 people a month use the Poetry Archive, listening to more than 2 million pages of poetry,” Gardner said. “Those aren’t scholars and English majors, for the most part. They are ordinary folks who are learning to reconnect with poetry, thanks to the extraordinary effort of Andrew Motion.”

After 10 years as the U.K. Poet Laureate, Motion retired from the position and moved to the United States to become an English professor at Johns Hopkins University. According to Gardner, Motion made the move to America both to escape from British media scrutiny and to immerse himself in American poetry.

“I hope that this event encourages students to want to read poetry for its own sake, and not to think of poetry as something obscure and difficult and designed for clever scholars to parse,” Gardner said. “Poetry is a way of using ordinary language in extraordinary ways, of getting us to see the world and ourselves in new and intriguing ways, of rendering the mundane beautiful, and of concentrating human emotion and intensifying human experience. That’s what we will be able to take away from Andrew Motion’s poetry reading.”

The event is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

by Kalli Damschen, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit

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