Friday, May 1, 2009

Breaking News: Lesbian Poet Becomes Poet Laureate

Carol Ann Duffy has been announced as the UK first ever female Poet Laureate. Duffy, 53, is thought to be the most widely read living poet in the English language.

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.

In the United Kingdom the term has for centuries been the title of the official poet of the monarch, since the time of Charles II. Poets laureate are appointed by many countries. In Britain there is also a Children's Laureate.

Duffy was almost appointed the British Poet Laureate in 1999 (after the death of previous Laureate Ted Hughes), but lost out on the position to Andrew Motion. According to the Sunday Times, Downing Street sources stated unofficially that Prime Minister Tony Blair was 'worried about having a homosexual poet laureate because of how it might play in middle England'. Duffy later claimed that she would not have accepted the laureateship anyway, saying in an interview with the Guardian newspaper that 'I will not write a poem for Edward and Sophie. No self-respecting poet should have to.'

Woman's Hour has Duffy first interview a Poet Laureate here.

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