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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Is the Poet Laureate job an anachronistic elephant?

Should the job of court poet go?

Popular poet Wendy Cope, known for her dry wit and keen ironic eye, and the favorite for taking up the cap when current British Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion (pictured, looking pensive), steps down this year, definitely thinks so.

Writing in the Royal Society of Literature Review, Cope has called for the position to be abolished, saying that there are too many expectations attached to the job.

After ten years of virtually writing to order, Morton agrees. Last year, he said that the job of writing verse for the Royal Family -- such as verse for the Queen's diamond wedding anniversary, and Prince William's 21st -- was "thankless" and a source of writer's block. As Wendy Cope pointed out, Morton has done a good job by dint of hard work and managing not to make a fool of himself. He has also used his prestige to found the online Poetry Archive. However, a poet should be a free soul who writes whatever poetry comes to mind at the time.

The Poet Laureate's job was first introduced in 1668 -- as an alternative for the unenviable post of Court Jester? Because it sounds an awful lot like it.

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