In the news: Andrew Motion

March 14, 2003

They read good books, and quote, but
never learn
a language other than the scream of rocket-burn
Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad;
elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.

Poet laureate Andrew Motion's anti-war poem was one of 10,000 delivered to Downing Street recently. Titled Causa Belli , it questions the evidence US president George W. Bush has for attacking Iraq and suggests what might influence him.

Its publication comes at a time of change for the poet. After eight years leading the creative writing course at the University of East Anglia, Professor Motion was last week appointed to Royal Holloway, University of London. There, he will head a new MA in creative writing and will develop two joint degree programmes in drama and creative writing and English and creative writing.

Professor Motion said: "The make-up of courses needs to reflect the margins more: people don't always feel it's for them and there's an issue of social permission. One of the things I want to do is to demonstrate that we are particularly interested in having a wider base. I am interested in making connections with departments like drama and developing something to do with other forms of media like film poems. I want to be more imaginative."

Born in London in 1952, he read English at University College, Oxford, before teaching the subject at the University of Hull, where he met fellow poet Philip Larkin. In 1995, he was appointed professor of creative writing at UEA, succeeding Malcolm Bradbury.

Professor Motion is also well known for his biographies and novels. The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit won a Somerset Maugham award while Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life won the Whitbread biography prize. His third novel, The Invention of Dr Cake , has just been published.

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