Poems, says Carol Ann Duffy, poet laureate of the United Kingdom, are a lot like texts.
“The poem is a form of texting,” proclaims Duffy, poet laureate since 2009 and a professor of contemporary poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University. “It’s the original text. It’s a perfecting of a feeling in language – it’s a way of saying more with less, just as texting is.”
Duffy – the first woman, first Scot, and first openly gay person named Britain’s poet laureate – will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 in Room 301 of Ohio Wesleyan University’s Merrick Hall, 65 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. The free presentation is sponsored by the Ohio Wesleyan Department of English.
Duffy’s poetry often addresses issues of oppression, gender, and violence. Of her work, she has said: “Like the sand and the oyster, it’s a creative irritant. In each poem, I’m trying to reveal a truth, so it can’t have a fictional beginning.”
Her collections include “Standing Female Nude,” which won a Scottish Arts Council Award; “Selling Manhattan,” winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; and “Mean Time,” winner of the Whitbread Poetry Award. Duffy’s “Rapture” also won the T.S. Eliot Prize.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from The University of Liverpool. Previous poet laureates of the United Kingdom – a post that dates back more than 400 years – have included John Dryden, William Wordsworth, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Duffy will speak as part of OWU’s Katherine Kearney Carpenter Lecture Series. The lectureship was established in 1967 with an endowment from the late O. William Carpenter in honor of his wife. Previous Carpenter lecturers include National Book Award winners Ta-Nehisi Coates and Joyce Carol Oates; Nobel Prize winning poet-playwright Derek Walcott; former U.S. Poet Laureate Howard Nemerov; and prolific author Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Learn more about Duffy at www.carolannduffy.co.uk and more about the Carpenter Lecture and OWU English Department at www.owu.edu/english.
CAROL ANN DUFFY