In May, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Simon Armitage as the 21st poet Laureate of the United Kingdom. Armitage’s literary and professional recognitions and accomplishments certainly merited the honor; not only had he published numerous collections of poetry, he had also published translations and retellings of classic British and Greek works.
British poet laureates don’t have an official length for term in office. The first, John Dryden, was appointed by King Charles II in 1668 and served for almost 20 years; Alfred Lord Tennyson was poet laureate for almost 42 years. More recently, the poets appointed have served about 10 years. Some of the better-known laureates include Robert Southey, William Wordsworth, John Masefield, John Betjeman, Ted Hughes, Cecil Day-Lewis, and Andrew Motion. Armitage’s immediate predecessor, Carol Ann Duffy, was the first woman appointed to the position.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
Photograph: Simon Armitage.