Finally, we have a female poet laureate. I’m not getting hysterical about not having had one before, because, well, we know all about centuries of patriarchal oppression etc, and Christina Rossetti would have said no anyway, but I am very pleased that finally, it’s happened. Being poet laureate is a strange position – just over £5,000 a year plus 600 bottles of sherry, or something like that (presumably to stimulate the creative juices, although research published last week says that red wine helps the thought processes best, news I am delighted to hear). In fact, she says that Andrew Motion hasn’t had his yet so she’s asking for hers upfront – a woman after my own heart.
However, I can’t imagine what Duffy is going to write in her new post – and I say that in a good way; I’m looking forward to seeing what she does write on, say, the death of the Queen – or, perhaps, swine flu, the recession, and other “newsworthy” items! It can only be an improvement on Motion’s “rap” on Prince William’s 21st birthday – I do see where he was coming from, it must have seemed like a great idea, but it strikes me as the kind of thing that would only appeal to an amateur. Duffy says, though, that “In accepting this Laureateship, I hope to contribute to people’s understanding of what poetry can do and where it can be found.” I presume she means to highlight that it can be found in places outside poetry books, but I hope she’ll start with the books.
Read more about it here.