Difficult times for Ruth Padel! The Guardian posted shocking news yesterday, May 24th, saying that Ruth Padel had withdrawn from her Poetry Chair at Oxford due to the continued controversy around Derek Walcott’s nomination. One version of the troubling report can be read here. I send Ruth my support and wishes for ease in finding her way on this rocky road …………………………. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/may/24/ruth-padel-derek-walcott-oxford-poetry
(My earlier post – last week) ~How sweet it is! Poet Laureate, and The Oxford Poetry Chair are both now occupied by women. The first position is for ten years, the second, five. The poets are Carol Ann Duffy and Ruth Padel; amazingly good writers. I’ve written here about Ruth Padel and reviewed her book, Darwin: A Life in Poems – [see entry for April 9, 2009]. YES for the Brits. Truthfully, I’m getting ready to spend a short time in London, so I’m reading New British Poetry from Graywolf Press, 2004. Here’s a few lines from Carol Ann Duffy from her playful nod to Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red-Cap:
…He stood in a clearing, reading his verse out loud
in his wolfy drawl, a paperback in his hairy paw,
red wine staining his bearded jaw. What big ears
he had! What big eyes he had! What teeth!
In the interval I made quite sure he spotted me…
…you might ask why. Here’s why. Poetry.
The wolf, I knew would lead me into the woods…
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Some words On Carol Ann Duffy from the Press:
“It only took 341 years but, finally, Britain has a female Poet Laureate. Carol Ann Duffy will hold the 10-year post, following in the formidable footsteps of the likes of William Wordsworth, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Ted Hughes. Glasgow-born Duffy, 53, said she had thought “long and hard” before accepting the high-profile job, and gave the final say to her 13-year-old daughter [Ella]. Her response? “She said, ‘Yes mummy, there’s never been a woman.'” Glen Levy, Time Magazine, May 1, 2009.
“Duffy lives with Ella in south Manchester, in a house where the doors are painted with poems – William Carlos Williams on eating plums is on the kitchen door. From here, she can walk to the (remarkably rural) River Mersey, where she wrote most of Rapture sitting on a bench. She says her writing tends to be seasonal, with her ‘sharpening my pencils in September when it starts to get a bit rainy and melancholy and moody. Then I write until about February, until it begins to fall away in the spring.'” The Guardian, May 26, 2007.
THIS IS THE POEM that I love. See for yourself. “acred in hours?” Oh. Beautiful.
A Child’s Sleep
I stood at the edge of my child’s sleep
hearing her breathe;
although I could not enter there,
I could not leave.
Her sleep was a small wood,
perfumed with flowers;
dark, peaceful, sacred,
acred in hours.
And she was the spirit that lives
in the heart of such woods;
without time, without history,
…The greater dark
outside the room
gazed back, maternal, wise,
with its face of moon.
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