04 May 2009

UK Poet Laureate(ss)

Ladies and...ladies, our time is here!  After 341 long years, Britain can boast a female poet laureate!

Carol Ann Duffy has succeeded Andrew Motion in the post.  However, the acceptance of the position was not an automatic one for her:

Ms. Duffy told the BBC radio program "Woman's Hour" that she had thought hard about accepting the post and that the decision to take it came "purely because they hadn't had a woman."

She added: "I look on it as recognition of the great women poets we now have writing," and said that she hoped to use the job "to contribute to people's understanding of what poetry can do, and where it can be found."

Duffy plans to donate her stipend as poet laureate to the Poetry Society to finance a poetry prize.

"History" by Carol Ann Duffy

She woke up old at last, alone, bones in a bed, not a tooth in her head, half dead, shuffled and limped downstairs in the rag of her nightdress, smelling of pee.              Slurped tea, stared at her hand--twigs, stained gloves-- wheezed and coughed, pulled on the coat that hung from a hook on the door, lay on the sofa, dozed, snored.              She was History. She'd seen them ease him down from the Cross, his mother gasping for breath, as though his death was a difficult birth, the soldiers spitting, spears in the earth;              been there when the fisherman swore he was back from the dead; seen the basilicas rise in Jerusalem, Constantinople, Sicily; watched for a hundred years as the air of Rome turned into stone;              witnessed the wars, the bloody crusades, knew them by date and by name, Bannockburn, Passchendaele, Babi Yar, Vietnam. She'd heard the last words of the martyrs burnt at the stake, the murderers hung by the neck,              seen up-close how the saint whistled and spat in the flames, how the dictator strutting and stuttering film blew out his brains, how the children waved  their little hands from the trains. She woke again, cold, in the dark,              in the empty house. Bricks through the window now, thieves in the night. When they rang on her bell there was nobody there; fresh graffiti sprayed on her door, shit wrapped in a newspaper posted onto the floor.

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