Chief poet is mad as hell

Britain’s new Poet Laureate’s first poem tackles the expense account scandal

Carol Ann Duffy, the first female poet laureate, could have chosen to write on Prince Philip’s 88th birthday or the sombre commemorations for the D-Day landings in Normandy. Instead she has chosen a far more meaty subject for her first poem: politics. And she’s angry. Duffy’s poem Politics, published for the first time by the Guardian newspaper, is a powerful, passionate commentary on the corrosiveness of politics on politicians and the ruinous effect on idealism. John Sutherland, professor emeritus of modern English literature at University College London, called it an angry poem. “The motive force here is disgust. Disgust at the great machine and its dishonest mechanics who run our society. Duffy Furiosa. The poem’s technique is that of someone almost speechless with rage— a great tumbling catalogue. No time for structure.” He said he rather regretted the fact that Duffy had given the poem a title “because it’s not until close to the end that this great heap-of-crap which has so got Duffy’s goat is identified.” Judith Palmer, director of the Poetry Society, said Duffy had brilliantly put into words that “bloody hell” feeling most people felt every time they listened to the latest detail of the expenses scandal.

The Guardian

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