“The Queen Ponders Her Laureate Choice” by A.M. Juster

A.M. Juster


For many years it was my hope
to choose that witty Wendy Cope,
but she will not accept the honor
and I cannot inflict it on her.
My corgi trainer likes Craig Raine,
but Charles insists he is a pain.
I’m rather fond of Ian Duhig,
but might his ego get too big?
There’s Mona Arshi, Warshan Shire,
and so many poets I admire.
James Fenton’s verse is smooth as satin,
but he is mostly in Manhattan.
Though Simon Armitage is droll,
the public may need more from this role.
Caroline Bird or Ruth Padel
would not be difficult to sell;
Kate Tempest or Rebecca Watts
would bring too many caveats.
Don Paterson might please the Scots,
and J.H. Prynne the academics,
but choosing Prynne would stir polemics.
Ben Wilkinson and Sarah Howe
might win in time, but not right now.
I hope my pick will not embitter
those Brian Bilston fans on Twitter …

Perhaps we need a novel voice,
some totally surprising choice.
Bob Dylan satisfied the Swedes;
I wonder if the public needs
a folk-rock legend in his prime—
perhaps it’s Richard Thompson time.
Stig Abell at The TLS
could help with sorting out this mess,
but snubbed committees formed for me
would quickly turn disorderly …

I might just trash the status quo
and start a poet bake-off show
with poets told where they can go
by Simon Cowell, who would be snotty
but better than the literati!

from Poets Respond
November 18, 2018


A.M. Juster: “With Carol Ann Duffy bowing out after ten years as Britain’s Poet Laureate, the competition to become her successor is heating up.” (web)

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