Carol Ann Duffy Reflects on Five Years as UK Poet Laureate

October 1, 2014

Carol Ann Duffy Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s first female Poet Laureate in its nearly 350-year history, recently conversed with Nicholas Roe at The Guardian about the last five years since her appointment in 2009 (the laureateship lasts ten years). She discussed her plans to continue funding opportunities for writers, writing programs, and commissions for poets, and also writing poems that have a “public element.”

“I think all poets, to a greater or lesser degree, need to have a finger on the national pulse,” she said. “For me, it was about finding the moment when my interests and my voice ran parallel to something that could be seen as public.”

Duffy’s laureateship has also involved coordinating a mini-anthology of poetry produced by female poets, published by the Guardian Review; curating a series of poems related to sports, war, weddings, and aging; and setting up the Ted Hughes Award for Innovation in Poetry, funded by the laureate stipend.

“Having five years of being able to highlight poets and poetry has been incredibly rewarding and I’m looking forward to the next five. As a vocational poet who has written poetry since childhood, and also being the first woman poet, I have found the experience energising. So far it has been nothing but a joy.”

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