January 30, 2009

Poet: Abolish Poet Laureate position

British poet Wendy Cope, considered a frontrunner for the post of Poet Laureate, has ruled herself out and said the position should be abolished.

Cope said in The Royal Society of Literature Review that poets should not be expected to write for the occasion, The Telegraph reported.

Although there is no requirement on the part of the Palace or Whitehall that the Laureate write anything at all, the press and the public expect it and the only way to get rid of that expectation is to abolish the post, she said.

Cope was also a popular favorite in 1998 to succeed Ted Hughes. Her friend Andrew Motion instead became Poet Laureate and is stepping down at the end of his 10-year term.

In her article, Cope suggested that poets do not need an official title to write about important national events.

I believe that the best way for a poet to serve the art is to get on with writing the poems that he or she wants to write, she said.