Found these articles this week on the poet laureate situation in England:
* “Call for female poet laureate,” by Gary Bills-Geddes from Ledbury Reporter
* “Pressure on Burnham over female poet,” from The First Post
* “Queen is asked to appoint first female Poet Laureate after 22 men in 340 years,” by Arifa Akbar from The Independent
Long story short: England has had 22 men poet laureates over a 340-year span without a single female. From John Dryden’s appointment in 1668 to Andrew Motion’s farewell this October, not one single woman poet has held the title of poet laureate. Understandably, this issue is causing a bit of an uproar across the Atlantic.
I mean, it took me less than one year to appoint my first female poet laureate on Poetic Asides: Sara Diane Doyle. That’s right! It took me less than 12 months to do something England still hasn’t been able to do in 340 years. One more reason why Poetic Asides rocks!
How many more 10-year tenures will be served in England before a female poet laureate is picked? My guess is that the noise on this issue will get so loud that Motion’s successor will be a female. That said, if I were putting odds on whether the next laureate will be male or female, I’d only make it 51-49 in favor of female. After all, the men of England have a 340-year winning streak going strong.
(Wow! I still can’t believe it’s been 340 years without a female poet laureate. Can you? It’s completely mind blowing.)