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“Poetry is a form of texting” sez Carol Ann Duffy
Carol Ann Duffy, Britian’s first female Poet Laureate, believes texting is a fine vehicle for writing poetry writes Harriet Staff

Carol Ann Duffy, Britian’s first female Poet Laureate, believes texting is a fine vehicle for writing poetry, especially for younger and future generations, according to this article from The Guardian.

“The poem is a form of texting … it’s the original text,” says Carol Ann Duffy. “It’s a perfecting of a feeling in language – it’s a way of saying more with less, just as texting is. We’ve got to realise that the Facebook generation is the future – and, oddly enough, poetry is the perfect form for them. It’s a kind of time capsule – it allows feelings and ideas to travel big distances in a very condensed form.”

Duffy, who became Britain’s first female poet laureate in 2009, is passionate about the teaching of poetry in school. She believes there’s a myth that poetry is considered “difficult” or “complicated” by teachers – but says that’s simply not borne out by what’s really going on in the nation’s classrooms, where poetry is enjoying a major revival. “The poem is the literary form of the 21st century,” she says. “It’s able to connect young people in a deep way to language … it’s language as play.” Just, one might say, as text messaging is language at play.

So, if texting is preparing children for a lifetime of poetry, are today’s youngsters better at poetry than children in the past? “I think it’s most obvious in music,” says Duffy. “If you look at rapping, for example, a band like Arctic Monkeys uses lyrics in a poetic way. And using words in an inventive way is at the heart of youth culture in every way.”

Furthering this poetry outreach to the youths, Duffy has plans for a competition called Anthologise:

To this end, Duffy will on Wednesday launch Anthologise, a competition for secondary school pupils, which invites them to create their own poetry anthologies. “They can do it any way they want, and they can be any sort of group they want – so it can be a class, or it can be a poetry group in a school, or it can simply be one pupil,” she explains. “The anthology can be organised in any way they want – it can be themed, or it can be issue-led … anything they choose. They’ll be given a budget, and they’ll also have to think about how to cost it – so, for example, they’ll have to think about whether they’ll have to pay fees for reproducing poems, and, if so, they’ll have to think about how much these fees are.”

The idea behind the competition, says Duffy, is to foster a stronger relationship between children and the whole poetry arena – encouraging them to think about the wider issues around poetry, but also encouraging them to read widely, and to experience – as she herself did – a more intimate relationship with poems. “I feel it will lead to new writing,” she says.

“What I hope this competition will do is put some control into the hands of the students themselves,” says Duffy. “They will be able to create their own anthologies, and it will help to enhance the way poetry is taught in school.”

The Poetry Foundation