Hats off to Carol Ann Duffy for recently winning the PEN/Pinter Prize (see The Guardian article here.)
Pinter’s widow, Antonia Fraser said, “And Carol Ann Duffy is a very good choice: she’s so wonderfully outspoken, which is what the prize is about.” Personally, I was hoping the prize was more about Duffy’s poetry rather than her being outspoken.
Fraser went on to say, “. . . ‘She comments on contemporary events directly in a way we do not believe a poet laureate has done before . . .’ ” But isn’t commenting on contemporary events and social issues primarily the job of a novelist or an editorialist rather than the job of a poet? Yes, poets may choose to address whatever contemporary events or issues (be they social or personal) they want to address, but let’s not forget universal, timeless themes as well.