« | 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

    • Mark Dando on The Eighth Hill of Rome: Decades later on the other side of the world, I feel slightly guilty when I look at some pieces of broken amphora on my terrace pilfered when we livin...
    • Chris Lintott on A Meteor in the Saturnian Sky: I'm not sure it's true that Cassini could have been solar powered - no mission relying on solar power has operated so far from the Sun. Technology is ...
    • IPFreely on ‘Herr Müller wants to talk to you’: An AfD leader, Gauland, is now saying that Germans have nothing to do with the Nazi era and that it is time to move on - quite what he wants to move o...
    • vanini on A Meteor in the Saturnian Sky: While it's appropriate to celebrate Cassini's amazing scientific discoveries, there should be a mention of Cassini's dark side: it carried 72 lb of th...
    • Stu Bry on In Praise of Process: While I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments in the blog I find it strange that there is no consideration of Process in terms of EU accountability...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement Advertisement