Saturday, May 2, 2009

After 341 years....

Ten years ago, when Britain's Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones, the British poet Carol Ann Duffy said, "I will not write a poem for Edward and Sophie. No self-respecting poet should have to."

That would traditionally be the job of the British Poet Laureate, who at that time was Andrew Motion. Motion's ten-year term has just ended, and it was announced Friday that the new Poet Laureate is...Carol Ann Duffy. Last year I reported on the movement developing in Britain to have the next Poet Laureate be a woman -- something that had never been the case in the post's 341-year history. Those efforts obviously paid off with the selection of Duffy who, in addition to being the first woman, is also the first Scot and the first openly gay person to ever hold the post. Duffy's selection could hardly be seen as a surprise however -- she is highly popular and renowned, and was thought to have probably been the close second choice after Motion ten years ago. Andy Burnham, Britain's culture secretary, referred to Duffy as "a towering figure in English literature today and a superb poet."

A biography of Carol Ann Duffy and a selection of her poems can be found here.

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