“I’m not a lesbian poet, whatever that is. If I am a lesbian icon and a role model, that’s great, but if it is a word that is used to reduce me, then you have to ask why someone would want to reduce me? I never think about it. I don’t care about it. I define myself as a poet and as a mother – that’s all.”
Meet the UK’s new poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, apparently considered one of the most widely read contemporary poets in the English language. She also happens to be lesbian. Duffy was nominated for the position in 1999 but Blair didn’t think a “homosexual poet laureate” would play well in middle England. She also happens to be the first female poet laureate of the UK.
A piece of her work, called “Talent:”
This is the word tightrope. Now imagine
a man, inching across it in the space
between our thoughts. He holds our breath.
There is no word net.
You want him to fall, don’t you?
I guessed as much; he teeters but succeeds.
The word applause is written all over him.