A POET from Huddersfield is in the running to claim the coveted title of Poet Laureate.

Marsden-born poet Simon Armitage is placed at 5/2 to win by bookmakers William Hill.

Armitage, 49, still lives in West Yorkshire.

The former probation officer is shortlisted alongside 12 other renowned poets for the Royal accolade.

Glasgow-born Carol Ann Duffy is the firm favourite with William Hill placing her as an even odds.

Armitage is the second favourite at the bookmakers.

Both Armitage and Duffy were considered for the post nearly 10 years ago when the then current Poet Laureate Ted Hughes died.

Hughes, also a Yorkshireman, was a great influence on Armitage’s work.

But he was ruled out in 1999 because of his relative youth, while Duffy who is a lesbian and mother, was thought to lead an unconventional lifestyle – often considered to have been counted against her.

Duffy would be the first woman to hold the 400-year-old office if she claims the title.

Current Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion will end his decade-long £20,000 per year job in May.

Motion has said the job of writing poetry for the Royal Family is "thankless" and gave him writer's block.

Simon Armitage has not said whether he will accept the title if he is offered it.

The Marsden poet was first published in 1989 with a collection of poems called Zoom!

His work Xanadu and Kid was short-listed for the 1992 Whitbread Poetry Prize.

He has won several poetry awards, including the Sunday Times Young Author of the Year, a Forward Prize and a Lannan Award.

His first novel, Little Green Man, was published in 2001 and his following novel White Stuff, in 2004.

A Poet Laureate is appointed by the British monarch as a member of the royal household and is expected to write poems celebrating occasions of national importance and honouring the royal family.

It used to be a job for life but after the death of Ted Hughes in 1999, Andrew Motion became the first Poet Laureate to be appointed for a fixed term of ten years.

A taste of the main contenders....

Carlo Ann Duffy


Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.

It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.

It promises light

like the careful undressing of love.

Simon Armitage

Book of Matches

My party piece:

I strike, then from the moment when the matchstick

conjures up its light, to when the brightness moves

beyond its means, and dies, I say the story of my life -

Roger McGough

First Day at School

A millionbillionwillion miles from home

Waiting for the bell to go. (To go where?)

Why are they all so big, other children?

So noisy? So much at home they

Must have been born in uniform

Lived all their lives in playgrounds

Spent the years inventing games

That don't let me in. Games

That are rough, that swallow you up.

James Fenton

In Paris with You

Don't talk to me of love. I've had an earful

And I get tearful when I've downed a drink or two.

I'm one of your talking wounded.

I'm a hostage. I'm maroonded.

But I'm in Paris with you.

Wendy Cope


Some men never think of it.

You did. You'd come along

And say you'd nearly brought me flowers

But something had gone wrong.