Friday, May 01, 2009

First Female Poet Laureate. Hurrah.

The BBC reports that the official announcement of the new Poet Laureate is imminent, and that it will be Carol Ann Duffy. She will be the first woman appointed, as well as the first Scot. Read about it here.

"The reigning monarch chooses the Laureate on the advice of the government. Part of Duffy's role over the next 10 years will be to write works commemorating royal events. Her predecessor, Motion, told the BBC he had found these "very difficult poems to write" and there are signs Duffy may also struggle with this side of the job. After being passed over for the Laureate job in 1999, she commented: "I will not write a poem for Edward and Sophie. No self-respecting poet should have to.""

The Guardian writes:

"Duffy, 53, narrowly missed out on the laureateship to Motion in 1999 after Ted Hughes died. Despite being widely held as favourite at the time, she was reluctant to take up the prominent role given her status as a mother in a lesbian relationship (with the Scottish poet Jackie Kay; the relationship has since ended). There were also suggestions that Tony Blair had ruled her out because of her sexuality."

full article is here.

NB A Poet Laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government and is often expected to compose poems for State occasions and other government events. The plural form is poets laureate. Wiki notes that "In ancient Greece the laurel was sacred to the god Apollo, and was used to form a crown or wreath of honour for poets and heroes. This custom has since become widespread, both in fact and as a metaphor. The word laureate or laureated thus came in English to signify eminence or association with glory."

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