Carol Ann Duffy scandal watch, month 2. Scandal count: 0. Wait! Love poetry is harder to write than kids poetry! How DARE she?! Off with her head! (I officially love Carol Ann Duffy, who is like a red red rose, in that she’d draw my blood if I tried to pick her.)
The freshly minted laureate was in conversation with national poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, who defended Duffy against herself, describing her as a “terrific” female love poet in what has been a long line of male writers – “all the John Donnes and Shakespeares”.
Duffy replied that for her, to read a Shakespearian sonnet (the sonnet, she said, is “perfect” for a love poem, a “little black dress”) is “almost to revisit being in love. You’re dragged back in not through memory, but through language.”
But really, for Duffy, “all poems are love poems. What poetry does is add something to the world. It gives, sometimes it can change the way we see the world. Poetry can offer consolation, it can be angry and potent, but all these poems, these moments in language, come from love,” she said.
Duffy, now a much-published children’s poet as well as an adult writer, also admitted that she’d never thought she’d be capable of writing for children. But, while in her daughter’s eyes at least, she hasn’t quite reached the heights of former children’s laureate and Tracy Beaker creator Jacqueline Wilson, she has “probably written more for children now than for adults. Although Ella keeps saying ‘it’s not Jacqueline Wilson, is it?’”