« | Home | »

Banksy for Laureate!

Tags: | |

On an unused door in Bristol, birthplace of Banksy, someone has stencilled, several times, in silver spray-paint: ‘Carol Ann Duffy for Poet Laureate’. And then in thick black marker between each glittering demand: ‘Yes!’ – I imagine they came back, ecstatic, on Friday to graffiti their graffiti. I didn’t know anyone cared so much. I thought everyone was with Ian Hamilton, who wrote in the LRB, just before Andrew Motion was appointed ten years ago, that ‘the whole thing is now generally agreed to be a joke.’

The post did, in fact, begin as a joke. The modern poet laureate evolved from the court jester. The position was made solemn by Dryden, the first official laureate, who defended the Stuarts, as Matthew Reynolds put it, ‘with a readiness that at least challenges the border between loyality and servility’. Dryden was Royalist when it meant something to be Royalist (and loyal to James II: he too stepped down after the Glorious Revolution); but it’s not clear that even a loyalist could be inspired by Edward and Sophie’s wedding, which Duffy said she was unequal to ten years ago.

Then, it was thought she would scare off middle England; now she makes the Guardian and Times quiver with self-satisfaction. (The Daily Mail: ‘The bisexual single mother, 53, with a poem that was banned for glorifying knife crime . . . She’s the new Poet Laureate.’) But the fuss belies the fact that she’s already been laurelled by the AQA; already the most read, the most studied living poet. And the most appealing to graffiti artists.

Comments on “Banksy for Laureate!”

  1. DanielGreenwood says:

    I remember studying that poem. If a poem about a deranged loner ‘glorifies’ knife-crime then it seems anything can.

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • Rikkeh on The Prince and the Ladybird: Would as many people have bought or talked about a Ladybird Book on climate change had the Dolphin not been involved? Almost certainly not. Is there a...
    • Thomas Jones on Earthquakes, continued: A hotel was buried under an avalanche in Farindola, Abruzzo. According to one of the rescuers, who were able to reach the place only on skis, 'there a...
    • Josef C. on At the Gogol Centre: Certainly Kurt Schwitters (* 1887, Hannover, Germany; + 1948 in Kendal, Cumbria, England) and his 'Ursonate' belongs to this artistic league of the pl...
    • Phil on Cold War Ghosts: The conclusion may or may not be a ghost. A USA-Russia propaganda alliance sounds like a weak force, compared to actual trends, which are internal and...
    • Doetze on Cold War Ghosts: It is not the present-day leftists who admire Putin, but the xenophobic ultra-right wing nationalists. Le Pen and Wilders got financing from the Kreml...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement Advertisement