Turning down the Laureate job

When I was sixteen or seventeen I represented my district at cross country running. I wasn’t a great runner, sixth or seventh at best in our school event but no-one else liked cross country so, if you were willing you got in the team.  It was the same with football. I was obsessed with the game but never quite made the first eleven. I was less interested in rugby but they needed fifteen players so I squeaked in. The point is the Poet Laureate gig is taking on a similar slant. My best chance of making the cut is I’m not sure anyone else wants it.

Wendy Cope would be my choice for instance but she made clear last time she didn’t want to be considered and it’s unlikely she’ll change her mind. Given she labelled the  Laureate role ‘an ‘archaic post with ridiculous expectations attached to it’ they probably wouldn’t have her.  She did say the expectations didn’t come from the palace or from Whitehall but from public and the media but I imagine Her Majesty felt a little hurt anyway. Or perhaps she didn’t; I’m not sure whether she’s really a poetry fan or not.

Anyway, that was one would be Laureate who ruled herself out of the running.  Benjamin Zephaniah has been even more adamant, making clear that he has ‘absolutely no interest in the job’. He’d previously turned down an OBE and describes himself as ‘profoundly anti empire’. If that wasn’t clear enough he’s said, ‘I have absolutely no interest in this job. I won’t work for them. They oppress me, they upset me, and they are not worthy.’ So, he has a great CV but you suspect the job interview, should he turn up, wouldn’t go quite as well.

Jackie Kay is already doing the Scottish job and says the ‘Makar’ role (a sillier title still?) means she’ll be too busy. There’s a few who are up for it I’ll maybe write about another time but it starts to sound a bit like the Oscar Wilde thing where you wouldn’t want a Laureate who fancied the job. So maybe, just maybe there’s an outside chance for the likes of me as a sort of compromise candidate more interested in entertainment than high art.

Anyway watch this space for an update on Begging Your Pardon – Please Can I Be Laureate?’img_4799 hot off the presses soon.

 

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I’m Prime Minister, get me out of here!k

I’ve had a fantastic idea for promoting my new book, ‘Begging Your Pardon – Please Can I Be Laureate?’

If you live in the U.K. you’ll be familiar with the TV show, ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’. The basic premise is a bunch of celebrities get dropped in the Australian jungle for three weeks and are required to carry out disgusting tasks involving snakes, rodents and creepy crawlies. The public get to vote on who gets sent home and the last one still in the jungle is the winner.

It’s usually populated by ‘celebrities’ desperate to be better known or who’s star is fading. Anyway this year’s show is already underway but they usually drop an additional ‘big name’ in when it’s been up and running a few days. There’s lots of speculation about who that might be but, as far as I can tell the gig is still up for grabs.

I figured it would be perfect for pushing ‘Begging Your Pardon’ with huge exposure on prime time television so I let it be known I’d be interested. I’m not a household name just yet but it shouldn’t be a problem because we usually have to google who the celebrities are anyway. A Wikipedia page would help of course. I haven’t got one of those yet but I’m hoping someone might be inspired to do one for me.

Anyway I approached the production company but; and this is strictly hush hush, they’ve approached our Prime Minister Theresa May. She’s tempted apparently. She figures dealing with a den of vipers and various creepy crawlies might be a more attractive prospect than dealing with Cabinet and Her parliamentary colleagues.

So I might have to think of some other way to promote the book. I pity really because a poet appearing on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here would do more to promote the poetry scene in this country than any number of stuffy articles in the Guardian.

Meanwhile I’ve a great plan for bringI guess everyone together and healing recent divisions. I reckon, if I write about the bright future beckoning the country after Brexit, half the country will lap it up and the other half will think I’m being ironic. Something for everyone – can’t fail.

How the UK’s next Poet Laureate will be selected.

I have to be honest with you, I thought it would simply be a matter of popping round for a chat with Her Majesty and explaining that I’d be the perfect choice;  on account of writing a lot and living quite near the Castle. It seems that’s not enough! Quite a complicated process in fact.

As far as I understand Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is running the process and Her Majesty doesn’t get much of a look in. Seems very unfair to me.  She wants someone who’s handy and willing to knock something out for family occasions but the political choices are often a bit full of themselves and think jolly rhymes that cheer us all up are a bit beneath them.

Anyway there will be an advisory panel to help Jeremy whatnot, assuming he hasn’t resigned over the Brexit business or been moved on.  The panel will made up of experts from across the regions and nations of the UK. Important dignitaries like the founder of the Bradford Literature Festival. There will be representatives from the British Council, Arts Council England and Arts Council Northern Ireland, the Royal Society of Literature, Scottish Poetry Library, Literature Wales, The Poetry Society, Forward Arts Foundation, British Library and Poetry Book Society are also included in the pan

A formal announcement is expected to be made in May 2019 when we’ll get to know who’ll be doing the job for the next ten years. Hopefully that’ll give me time to jog Her Majesty’s memory and remind her of my offer.

I’m publishing my new book Begging Your Pardon : Please Can I Be Laureate before Christmas so she’ll have a chance to see what I can do.5A92A381-9187-4FE9-B085-B92B8B752DBC

 

 

Begging Your Pardon

5BDFD72F-DE0C-40AC-86D5-0C8EC73F09CFJust when I’d given up and all seemed lost I hear Carol Ann Duffy is nearing the end of her stint and the Poet Laureate job is up for grabs again.

Some of you will know I live near Her Majesty and have offered more than once to help out but so far my offer to knock out verse for all the big occasions has fallen on deaf ears.  I do my bit from time to time but, up to now, without recognition. I’ve offered to drop round to the Castle for an interview but have still not heard anything.

Anyway it seems Carol Ann Duffy’s ten year stint is coming to an end and they need a new Laureate. They’ve started to take suggestions and a new appointment will be announced in May.

It’s a well known fact that the best known poets all turn it down but I’m willing and, current low spirits aside, churn verse out almost daily. So coming up with the odd one for Her Majesty would be no problem at all.

I’d already decided to give it one more shot when the exciting news emerged the Carol Ann will soon be winding down. Fortunately I have a new book in the pipeline re-emphasising my interest and setting out my credentials.

I’m excited to announce that, ‘Begging Your Pardon: Please Can I Be Laureate?’ will be released on Amazon soon. Sign up to Andrew Green’s poems and I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Do trains still stop?

744C59BD-E935-4AC8-BDCF-5D08A3FC027CDo trains still stop at Adlestrop?

And if they stop will any look

Glance out, take in, survey the scene?

Do Whitsun couples line the route

With bridal veils and clumsy heels?

Would any notice if they did?

And if past rosey Ruislip gardens 

ran a red electric train

Who would stare from out its windows

Catch the views of backs of houses

Note the clacking of the lines?

Will the mail trains’ midnight journey

Clatter through commuters’ minds

When they’re bent, their eyes cast downward,

Staring at their mobile phones?

Gone the times of quite reflection,

Scenes half glimpsed; imagined things.

Plugged into their wretched ear phones

Who will hear if blackbird sings?

Imagination hit the buffers;

Signal failure down the line

End of reverie and reflection

Eyes cast down we squint at screens.

Who sees out the grimy window?

Who is looking out the train?

Where did quiet reflection go?

Will we know who went or came?