Friday, 7 December 2007

What does it mean to be Poet Laureate?

People often ask me: 'What does it mean to be Poet Laureate?'

Usually they want to know what I'll be doing as the new Laureate for Warwick. But sometimes they're interested in how I see the role of a Poet Laureate, why I put my work forward to be considered in the first place.

The two answers are connected. As a Poet Laureate, one of my responsibilities over the next year is to produce poetry about the region and to encourage others to do the same. And that's how I see the role of a Laureate. I see it very much as a social role, someone who acts as a mediator between the people and poetry. Which is what attracted me to the post.

I see the Laureateship as a good way to introduce new people to poetry, and to use poetry to help people. That can be a therapeutic help, encouraging people to write about their problems and so perhaps come to terms with those problems a little better. Or it can be about fun and creativity, getting adults back in touch with what some might call their 'inner child'!

The Laureateship is also about giving added emphasis to poetry on the National Curriculum, by going into schools for workshops or by helping kids with poetry and performance during poetry-related activities outside school.

No comments: