Monday, 04 May 2009

Duffy Is New Poet Laureate, but No Tennyson

Written by  Charles Scaliger

Carol DuffyAlfred Lord Tennyson may be turning in his grave. The author of some of the most exalted poetry in the English language, such as “Crossing the Bar” and “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” would probably be appalled to learn that Britain’s newest poet laureate — an honor Tennyson held from 1850 until his death in 1892 — is Carol Ann Duffy, an open lesbian much of whose poetry is a celebration of her sexual deviancy.

That Britain’s centuries-old recognition of her finest poets — an honor conferred on the likes of Jonson, Dryden, and Wordsworth, among many other notables — has now been bestowed on Duffy, a tawdry authoress of often ribald, always irreverent literary wisecracks masquerading as verse, is an indicator as vivid as any of how far Western culture has declined in the space of a few generations.

Duffy is nothing if not a people’s poet, inexplicably popular as few poets are in this post-literary age. But most of Duffy’s oevre is not literature in any meaningful sense. Her creations are mostly short, subversive strings of wisecracks passed off as witticisms. An example (“Darwin’s Wife,” from her collection, The World’s Wife): “Seventh of April 1952, Went to the zoo. I said to him, ‘Something about that chimpanzee over there reminds me of you.’” Get it?

Needless to say, Duffy has received accolades from many quarters. Effused British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, “She is a truly brilliant modern poet who has stretched our imaginations by putting the whole range of human experiences into lines that capture the emotions perfectly.”

Carol Ann Duffy is the first woman to hold the post of poet laureate. But her selection where so many able female British poets in the past have been passed over for the honor (Elizabeth Barrett Browning being a preeminent example) speaks volumes concerning the potency of the modern homosexual movement, both in the United States and overseas. Make no mistake about it: Duffy has been elevated to the post not for being a woman but for being a standard-bearer for in-your-face homosexual militancy. “It shows how far this country has come that a woman, and a woman like Carol Ann, can hold an appointment such as Poet Laureate,” said Judith Palmer, director of Britain’s prosaically-named Poetry Society.

Precisely.

Photo of Carol Duffy: AP Images