Next week offers Washingtonians a rare chance to hear Britain’s poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. The celebrated writer will be at the Folger Library on May 5 in conversation with PBS NewsHour senior correspondent Jeffrey Brown.
Duffy scored a number of firsts in 2009 when she assumed the office of poet laureate: She was the first female and the first Scot to fill the 400-year-old post once held by such luminaries as Dryden, Wordsworth and Tennyson.
Over a career spanning 40 years, Duffy has produced strikingly imaginative and accessible poetry that speaks to a wide audience. As poet laureate, she has been a prolific poetical commentator on topical subjects, including AIDS, Queen Elizabeth and even David Beckham.
Currently a professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, Duffy has also written books for children and works for the theater. Her most recent collection of poems, “The Bees” (2011), won a Costa Book Award (previously known as the Whitbread Awards). Here’s the title poem in that collection (reprinted with permission from Faber & Faber):
Here are my bees,
brazen, blurs on paper,
besotted; buzzwords, dancing
their flawless, airy maps.
Been deep, my poet bees,
in the parts of flowers,
in daffodil, thistle, rose, even
the golden lotus; so glide,
gilded, glad, golden, thus –
wise – and know of us:
how your scent pervades
my shadowed, busy heart,
and honey is art.
The May 5 presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. For tickets ($15) call 202-544-7077 or click here. The Folger Theatre is located behind the Library of Congress at 201 East Capitol St. SE.