In January 2009 we asked our Members who they thought the next Poet Laureate should be. Our Members' feedback was then gratefully received by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Below are all the comments we received from the majority who wanted Carol Ann Duffy as their next Poet Laureate.
"She has produced work of a consistently high standard for over twenty years and has been very active teaching creative writing at all levels. She has won many awards and accolades. She has a high public profile and her work has been a set text for years. It is time for a woman poetry laureate."
"She is the most humane and accessible poet in our time. She is direct and vulnerable and there is an exceptional fluidity and grace about her work."
"It is time we had a woman in this role and she is a superb poet. Technically skilled, funny, accessible and popular with a firm commitment to promoting poetry."
"Simple, reflecting human emotions in everyday lives. Also she is a woman, a change for a poetry laureate."
"It's time a woman held this position. She's a very good poet, popular with children and adults, is known outside the poetry world and does a lot to promote poetry."
"Her towering talent has created a body of work full of insight, wit and vibrancy."
"An obvious suggestion for the new Poet Laureate."
"She is unlikely to lose her poetic integrity, or her intellectual credibility in the face of the trivial."
"Because she is a marvellous poet and will ruffle a few feathers."
"I like her poems and she is young enough."
"Not only is she a very accomplished and humorous poet, but she's a woman and it's about time we had a female laureate."
"Truly a universal poet - writes for children, works with all ages - generous with time and talent."
"She has an original and glorious voice. Her impressive body of work shows talent and wit. The World's wife alone is enough to qualify her as prospective Poet Laureate. Serious and entertaining at the same time."
"Huge body of work. Both professional poetic and popular appeal across a diverse range of readers good at public appearances."
"Time for a female poet to have more recognition perhaps in this genre. Duffy appeals as she communicates well poetically using humour, honesty, modern 'language' to incorporate deep issues and often links to an ancient past. She recognises modern situations and connects to Myth with understanding. Brilliant poet for all ages today."
"She's alert, witty, proficient."
"She is a well known poet that writes on themes relevant to all people in language that is accessible to everyone, not only literate. Her work is accomplished and prolific; she deserves acknowledgement for her contribution to poetry over the decades. It is time to have a woman as laureate."
"She is versatile, lyrical - a poet known to a lot of young people. It would be great to have the first female laureate. I think she would give us poetry with an edge."
"Carol Ann Duffy, because like Andrew Motion she would be active and take the job seriously and innovatively."
"A fine poet."
"She has bridged the gap between popular and profound and done much to promote the art of poetry."
"While using language with today's freshness and wit, she is strangely evocative and touching, with a matchless ear for the way words convey the mystery of the very real."
"She has undoubted skill as a poet, is versatile, sensitive and humourous, and has proved her success and popularity through her many collections to date. She has the drive and talent needed for the post. It is time there was a woman Poet Laureate. "
"Given the number of women writing poetry I would like to see a female Poet Laureate and Duffy's poetry is excellent."
"She turned me on to poetry, kept me excited about it for many years and has never (to my knowledge) said or done anything to bring poetry into disrepute. She is accessible, fun, and very much of our times."
"She is the best poet writing in Britain today. She has the gift of writing for both the convinced and the unconvinced."
"Her poems reach people who might otherwise feel excluded from 'poetry'. She shows that the imagination is accessible to everyone, and that the everyday is fit material for poetry."
"Her refreshing, witty, stark and controversial style would bring a new dimension of poetry to the public's attention. The appointment of Duffy would contradict expectations while maintaining a magnificent standard of poetry."
"Because of her relevant and real writing that is accessible yet multi-level. She is perhaps the most important contemporary British voice in poetry today and has given her whole adult working life to the poetry and education of ordinary people."
"High time we had a woman laureate. Her work is brilliant, accessible and popular, she is a good communicator with an audience, writes for children (a new angle for the role - get into schools!) and would I am sure be full of creative ideas for the role."
"She is well able to express the feelings of those who are not poets (i.e. the rest of us) in poetry that is both accessible and thoughtful, and is a public enough poet to represent and promote the role of poetry in national culture."
"She is a serious poet whose poetry has come of age and her appointment would be a sign to the world that the post of Poet Laureate in these times is open to all who have a poet's soul."
"Why? Because her writing combines both wonderful craft with openness and she would be a perfect ambassador for poetry."
"Range, talent, warmth, skill, wit, for rescuing GCSE students from boredom!"
"A poet of great imagination and depth whilst reaching out to everyone."
"For her consummate craftsmanship combined with her deep humanity."
"For the quality and range of her work."
"Her work - lyrical, reflective or satirical - sustains intense scrutiny, yet also appeals to the non-expert reader; she's committed to encouraging understanding and enjoyment of poetry, and developing new writers, through teaching, editorial work and journalism. Above all, a poet of marked originality in voice, approach, technique and range."
"Because her love of our English language is clear and thoughtfully passed on to everyone with an ear for it, whatever their degree in life and because she is not boring."
"Her poems are accessible, and she has already done a lot of work with writing organisations and schools .Time we had a woman Poet Laureate!"
"Her socially challenging and brilliantly adept poetry makes her worthy of the post, She is someone who is central to the British Poetry Scene. As a woman she would bring the position into the twenty-first century."
"She writes from head and heart, controlling form and imagery, inspiring, enlightening, beautiful."
"I would like to put forward the name of Carol Ann Duffy."
"Carol Ann Duffy. Or if she won't do it, any other female poet of note. The first female laureate is long, long overdue."
"She is skilful with form, has a wide range of tone - both amusing and deeply felt, has real sense of poetry's past - and it is probably time to have a woman in the post."
"Intelligent, witty poetry, perfectly formed and with a point to make."
"I do admire her work, it reminds me of the reasons why poetry can be important to all of us. Her poems are memorable and remain in my psyche. She has the essential energy to promote poetry, I would say. She's a woman!"
"She should have been appointed last time."
"I'd like to suggest Carol Ann Duffy. Not only is she a brilliant poet who has inspired many to write but she is probably one of those poets I turn to time and again. Apart from her poetry, she is a good communicator : I also share her values. And it's time to have a woman!"
"She is witty, intelligent and accessible. It's about time to have a woman."
"Her poetic credentials are second to none!... and surely it’s time that a woman was appointed to this position?"
"Persistence, consistency and public awareness. Perhaps less conformist than past patriots, she should be prepared to recognise social, regional and ethnic variations in society. (And the Poetry Society too!)"
"Excellent, clear, accessible writing and would make an ideal promoter of poetry to non-poets and especially to children and young people. Also we do need a woman as a role model for women writers."
"Because her work is of national significance. I'd like to see the laureateship returned to being an honour, in recognition of a poet's achievement. Currently, it is discussed as if it were some kind of poetry-PR job. No real poet wants a job."
"Her poetry is vibrant, accessible, intelligent, enjoyable, relevant, compelling, moving and funny. She is a well-known and popular artist and communicates brilliantly."
"She represents the spirit of the age – speaks on public events, champions the underclass AND writes lyrics of universal appeal. Also, a woman."
"Many of our finest poets at present are women, and we have not yet had a woman as Poet Laureate. Within this shining constellation, Carol Ann shines particularly brightly, is respected by fellow poets and has wide appeal with the general public."
"Her writing is both timeless and relevant reaching across age ranges and communities."
"Her work is accessible and inspiring to adults and children (one only has to hear the rapturous reception she receives at gcse readings or the interpretations of her poetry on YouTube). She would work hard for poetry."
"Because her work reaches people who are not poets, as well as being respected by poets."
"She sees through the world's window and pictures the individual."
"She addresses the serious issues of our time in a very accessible way but does not shy away from use of traditional forms - eg the Sonnet. She manages to strike an emotional chord, not only through her skill as a poet, but through her clever use of wit and humour."
"I think it needs to be someone whose name is in circulation even if only because of school syllabuses."
"'A name for the poet laureate” a bit of a leading question but if I’d have to chose, and I’d be loath to since once poets become laureates their work tends to go down the pan, I’d choose Carol Ann Duffy because she’s a woman, doesn’t take prisoners and therefore wouldn’t be a hostage to fortune."
"She is an excellent poet with several quite brilliant poems and is an excellent communicator and promoter of poetry especially among the young."
"Duffy's work is both popular and outstanding. Collections such as Mean Time contain many wonderful poems which are formally challenging and moving. She has also managed to expand the audience for poetry in the UK. I think she would be a wonderful Poet Laureate and hope her dry wit will inject some sense of the contemporary into the job."
"A female poet is long overdue, B/ She would be good at it, C/ She deserves it, D/ She would enjoy the support of her peers, E/ The appointment of a female Poet Laureate would re-ignite national interest in poetry. I am sure there are other reasons!"
"She has consistently produced a volume of work of the highest standard for several decades.
Her poems are relevant, memorable and accessible to all sorts of readers, and cover a wide range of emotions and genres. Most importantly, her poems appeal to people who are new to poetry - they help create new poetry lovers."
"Time for a woman. For someone who has already raised profile of both serious and accessible poetry, who has mastered form and can give it a jolt from time to time and can continue to be an ambassador for the cause."
"Because she is a people's poet not a poets poet. Also she is a brilliant tutor and footballer!"
"Carol Ann Duffy is a serious, widely admired lyric poet: a writer whose verse comes out of intensely felt but ordinary experience. The fact that she is a woman, and would be the first ever woman Poet Laureate, is a good but subsidiary reason for supporting her candidature."
"Her contribution to poetry has been outstanding over many years. Her range of writing is wide, including love poetry, political and social poetry, children's poetry. Her poetry appeals to a wide audience and readership, beyond the poetry world. It would be excellent to have a female laureate."