|Dame Carol Ann Duffy
Duffy in June 2009
|Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom|
1 May 2009
|Preceded by||Andrew Motion|
23 December 1955 |
|Spouse(s)||Peter Benson|
|Children||Ella (born 1995)|
|Relatives||Mary Black (mother) died 2005
Frank Duffy (father)
|Education||B.A. (Hons) Philosophy|
|Alma mater||University of Liverpool|
Like the sand and the oyster, it's a creative irritant. In each poem, I'm trying to reveal a truth, so it can't have a fictional beginning.
The poem is a form of texting… it's the original text. It's a perfecting of a feeling in language – it's a way of saying more with less, just as texting is.
If I felt, in the event of a royal wedding, inspired to write about people coming together in marriage or civil partnership, I would just be grateful to have an idea for the poem. And if I didn't, I'd ignore it.
I think the dangers are different now. Our abuse of the planet and our resources is an anxiety.
Having a child takes you back to all those parts of your own childhood that you had hidden away.
Christmas is taken very seriously in this household. I believe in Father Christmas, and there's no way I'd do anything to undermine that belief.
Edinburgh is my favourite city. We'll be doing a lot of children's theatre and galleries.
I write quite a lot of sonnets, and I think of them almost as prayers: short and memorable, something you can recite.
When you have a child, your previous life seems like someone else's. It's like living in a house and suddenly finding a room you didn't know was there, full of treasure and light.
I write in that space between Ella's childhood and mine. I know it all sounds a bit sinister.
I still have a feeling that I haven't written the best that I can write. I think all poets must feel this: that there is constantly something new to be discovered in the language. It's like a thrilling encounter, and you can find things.
I have piles of poetry books in the bathroom, on the stairs, everywhere. The only way to write poetry is to read it.
I see the shape of the poem before I start writing, and the writing is just the process of arriving at the shape.
The poem is the literary form of the 21st century. It's able to connect young people in a deep way to language… it's language as play.
I think poetry can help children deal with the other subjects on the curriculum by enabling them to see a subject in a new way.
I grew up in a bookless house – my parents didn't read poetry, so if I hadn't had the chance to experience it at school I'd never have experienced it. But I loved English, and I was very lucky in that I had inspirational English teachers, Miss Scriven and Mr. Walker, and they liked us to learn poems by heart, which I found I loved doing.
If we think of what's up ahead, with climate change and wars over water, it's very frightening.
It's always good when women win things in fiction because it tends to be more male-dominated, unlike poetry, which is more equal.
You can find poetry in your everyday life, your memory, in what people say on the bus, in the news, or just what's in your heart.
I always say that I'll have a go and see whether the poem works and if it does, then fine.
Auden said poetry makes nothing happen. But I wonder if the opposite could be true. It could make something happen.
The moment of inspiration can come from memory, or language, or the imagination, or experience – anything that makes an impression forcibly enough for language to form.
Poets deal in writing about feelings and trying to find the language and images for intense feelings.