For a witch who claims not be be all that keen on poetry, it was quite a revelation to see the photo in the Guardian Weekend of four poets about to hit the road and cover the UK’s indie bookshops from the south to the north. Because I have actually met three of them, and I even own at least one signed volume of poetry by those three as well.
It’s only Gillian Clarke from Wales that I didn’t know. Carol Ann Duffy, on the other hand, comes from my old neck of the woods, as does Scotland’s new makar Jackie Kay. And Imtiaz Dharker I came across on that first visit to the Gothenburg Book Fair many years ago. (I was never quite sure how safe it would be to travel with her The Terrorist at my Table in my bag…)
Imtiaz is – according to Carol Ann – their ‘world laureate’ and that’s a pretty good title to have. As is poet laureate, of course.
I quite like the idea of these four ladies travelling the length of the country to read poetry in bookshops. My closest one is probably St Andrews, but that is still too far for a Saturday night outing.
Anyway, the fact that I have some of their work, might be an indication that these are very much user friendly poets, if that’s an OK kind of description. None of that feeling I had when I was at school, that poetry is boring, and pompous.
(Googling the article, it was suggested I might be looking for ‘pets’ and not poets. Honestly!)