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I've just booked to go and see Carol Ann Duffy at the Winchester Discovery Centre on National Poetry Day. I kicked myself for missing her at Hay, so thought I'd make up for it!
How was it, ottilie? I wasn't needed to help as they had to move it to the bigger venue at the University, and they provided their own staff!
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  • 3 months later...

My son, 'doing' Duffy for AS level, left his copy of The World's Wife on the kitchen table. I glanced through it. I'd read some of her work before and wasn't exactly thrilled. If you enjoy poems about birthing I'd recommend Gillian Clark; if you absolutely must have a woman laureate there are others better. Still, the good thing about Duffy is that she reaches down - to an almost simplistic level at times. Take this one: Mrs Darwin. 7 April 1852. Went to the zoo. I said to Him - Something about that Chimpanzee over there reminds me of you. End of poem. end of story. Then we have Mrs Sisyphus, Mrs Faust and Mrs Tiresias all putting the feminine point of view. Gets a bit boring, but can be a bit of fun too. Laureateship stuff? I don't think so.

 

Another point. Why do the examiners - you examiners, even - give our poetry-starved children such pabulum? Are we not just patronising them, trying to get them 'interested' in a minority pursuit. A further point: In our endeavour to be modern, with-it and up-to the-mark sexually and multiculturally are we not doing the pupils a disservice by ignoring the great work of the past? OK, I know they shove in some Browning and the odd Shakespeare sonnet, but it's just a sop and most teachers seem to do their best to scrub round The Greats - 'too difficult' I suppose.

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