As the first female Poet Laureate – elected to that post in 2009 – Carol Ann Duffy has written for both children and adults, and her poetry has received many awards, including the Signal Prize for Children’s Verse, the Whitbread and Forward Prizes, as well as the Lannan Award and the E. M. Forster Prize in America. In 2012 she was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize.
Born in Glasgow, Carol Ann grew up in Stafford and then attended the University of Liverpool, where she studied Philosophy. She is renowned for her tenderness and toughness, her humour and lyricism, and her unconventional attitudes and conventional forms.Myth and fairy-tale are vital to her imagining of the world, but they are given contemporary voices in her poems. And her public performances are always remarkable occasions and her poems are set texts for school studies.
Having welcomed Carol Ann’s predescessor as Poet Laureate – Andrew Motion – to Greenbelt, it seems fitting that we finally get to experience Carol Ann herself. She has dedicated herself to increasing the reach and relevance of poetry to public life in her role as Laureate, writing about everything from the MPs expenses scandal to David Beckham’s achilles injury.
In her own words, Carol Ann likes to use simple words, but in complicated ways. “Childhood,” she writes “is like a long greenhouse where everything is growing, it’s lush and steamy. It’s where poems come from.” (31 August 2002).
Photo Credit: Michael Woods