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Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy

By Kaira D., Y13

Carol Ann Duffy: poet, playwright, writer, T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize, OBE, CBE and British Poet Laureate.

For Hong Kong’s 2017 International Literary Festival, we had the absolute honour to witness Britain’s Poet Laureate presenting her work in the Great Hall of Hong Kong University, accompanied with music from her friend, musician John Sampson.

Honouring the armistice she started with her war poems, depicting enemy soldiers in the trenches during World War 1 (The Christmas Truce), Sampson bursting in with an exhale of German and illustrating beautifully her poem The Last Post with his bugle.

Slow trills of the trumpet, the clarinet and John Sampson’s multiple varieties of horns punctuated her sentences, adding a further depth to the meaning of her carefully chosen words.

The crowd hushed as she proceeded to her collection "The World’s Wife." The Scottish poet painted a picture of the history of the wives of famous men; Shakespeare, Darwin, Aesop, Faust. She dived into their perspective, inserting modern elements to the tale (Mrs Faust) or by looking through their eyes (Mrs Aesop). Laughter rippled at her sarcastic feministic stance in Mrs Darwin, and quieted as we learnt about the removal of Education for Leisure from the GCSE curriculum, and the rebuttal reply shown by Mrs Schofield’s GCSE.

The audience interaction, emphasised by participation in the quick game she presented, encouraged further praise for Carol Ann Duffy and John Sampson.

Many thanks for a wonderful morning full of poetry and music.