To mark the end of her poet laureateship, Carol Ann Duffy commissioned a series of poems on the collapse in the global insect population, leading to a final series of readings last week at Stratford Arts Centre, London. The event, ‘Poetry for the Insect Population’, saw the Laureate and friends read, sing and perform insect-themed poems to a packed-out and enthused audience.
At the event, performers and audience alike saluted the poet for her achievements in the role – the poems, the publications, the championing of other writers and – not least – the celebration of ten winners of The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. At the end of the reading, Carol Ann received a standing ovation and was crowned with an only slightly ironic laurel wreath.
After Carol Ann – a breather. A respectful interval. And then the turning of thoughts towards her successor. Who might the new Laureate be? What audiences and events will they turn their poetic focus on? The Poetry Society surveyed its membership to gauge their thoughts on candidates for the role. 141 names were mentioned including many familiar figures – these views were shared with the Department of Culture Media & Sport and the advisory panel.
Poets and poetry lovers are keen to know who the new Laureate is, and the announcement is due on 10 May, 10pm. Keep an eye on The Poetry Society website and social media channels for all the latest news.