I like eating out. I like buying beautiful paintings and being surrounded by beautiful things. I have to finance that life. I can barely afford a pension scheme because I don't make enough money.
I'm not precisely saying that a really good board meeting at the MLA (Museums, Libraries and Archives Coucil) makes me want to go and write poetry, but there is a pleasure in doing that sort of thing well.
I wanted to reimagine the role, in a way that was respectful of its traditional responsibilities but made them part of a wider pattern of poetry about national incidents, events, preoccupations: and to spend a great deal of time going to schools trying to demystify poetry.
Thanks partly to the kind of poets that we now have and partly to funding, there's been a gigantic shift in the way poetry is perceived... Poems on the Underground, poets in schools, football clubs, zoos.
Those who say we should dismantle the role of Poet Laureate altogether, the trick they miss is that being called this thing, with the weight of tradition behind it, and with the association of the Royal family, does allow you to have conversations and to open doors, and wallets, for the good of poetry in a way that nothing else would allow.
While also, importantly, not wanting to dumb it down or pretend the days of 'difficult' poetry are over, because we live in a pluralist culture and there's room for 'difficult' poetry alongside rap and everything else. And poetry won't be for everyone, but everyone should have the choice.
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