When Carol Ann Duffy became poet laureate, Ian Hislop presented a programme on BBC 4 about the history of the position. ‘The Changing of the Bard’ did not present a very endearing tale of the holders of the position throughout British history. Often it was merely a title, and an embarrassing one at that. Georgian holders of the position occasionally wrote poems mocking the pointlessness of the post, and Wordsworth was labelled a sell out when he accepted the title by his more revolutionary colleagues.
Thankfully Duffy, through taking part in shows like this, is engaging with the public. In the case of the Princess’ Blankets this is aimed at a younger audience specifically. This does not mean we are spoon fed second rate material by Duffy, who, along with John Sampson provides an appealing medley of poetry, story telling and music.
Always entertaining this is an intelligent show which is stripped of any unnecessary baggage or costumes. Duffy and Sampson can rely solely on their talent to entertain and provoke thought from the audience – something very few artists can do. Exactly the sort of thing a poet Laureate should be doing.
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