Carol Ann Duffy
Carol Ann Duffy is one of Britain’s best loved poets. She uses simple language, and often writes in the form of a dramatic monologue to explore a huge range of characters — everyone from a serial killer to a Jewish woman in a concentration camp. Despite these dark themes, her work is also filled with humour, playfulness and parody. In 2009 she was made the UK’s poet laureate, meaning she has been officially appointed to write poems for special occasions; these have included the banking crisis and David Beckham’s Achilles tendon injury, as well as more traditional events such as royal weddings. Duffy is the first woman, the first Scot, and the first openly gay person to hold the position.
“I like to use simple words, but in a complicated way,” Duffy once said. The use of everyday language in poetry is a tradition stretching back to Wordsworth, and Duffy delights in using contemporary slang to express big ideas.
Ze, toxic, single-use: words that defined 2018
What do they tell us about the year? Environmental catastrophe, extreme politics and gender relations… The dictionaries’ words of 2018 reveal a world battling division and destruction.
Texting is the new poetry, says UK’s poet laureate
2 txt or nt 2 txt, tht is th Q. According to poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, the abbreviated messages shuttling between our mobiles might just be the stuff of Shakespeare.
Extra! London school cracks down on slang
Basically everyone’s bare vexed coz a London school like banned students from using slang, innit. Is the previous sentence an abomination – or just a snapshot of evolving English?
Duffy’s 1999 collection The World’s Wife was a turning point in her career. It was filled with poems from the perspective of the wives of history’s great men, from Anne Hathaway to “Queen Herod”. Since then, she has continued to write a “chorus” of women’s voices.
Despite #MeToo, feminism is still a dirty word
Why do so many young women avoid calling themselves feminists? Surveys show that around half of young women believe in gender equality, but avoid using the f-word. What is going on?
Backlash as press revels in royal feud claims
Are Meghan and Kate victims of sexism? Reports of tears and explosive rows between the Duchesses have sparked claims that the media is unfairly pitting the women against each other.
Reporter demands a voice for women of war
Most of those who fought and died in World War One were men. But the conflict also heralded a momentous shift in women’s social roles. Has the female side of the story been marginalised?
Many of Duffy’s characters are found on the edges of society, withdrawn from others or isolated by difference. Her autobiographical poems have also drawn on the loneliness she felt after moving as a child from Scotland to the Midlands. Why is this emotion so powerful?
Loneliness ‘epidemic’: modern life under fire
A BBC analysis last night exposed the rise of loneliness in Britain. Are technological, social and working changes making us isolated, or should we take more responsibility for ourselves?
‘Why I think solitary confinement is torture’
Humans are social animals, says Jordan Gaines, hard-wired for friendship, social interaction and love. Isolating them from human contact is a particularly cruel, destructive form of torture.
Social networks make us lonely, say critics
In less than a decade, Facebook has changed the way millions of people socialise. This week, one article caused a stir by questioning its impact. Are social networks making us lonelier?
“Falling in love is glamorous hell,” writes Duffy in You, one of the first poems of her 2005 collection Rapture, which charts a tempestuous relationship from beginning to end. Love is a powerful and extreme emotion. Is it just as likely to cause pain as it is happiness?
The stars were aligned says a prince in love
Is romantic love a force for good? Nobody could doubt the sincerity of the love between Prince Harry and his bride-to-be. Yet for nearly half the population, romance still ends in divorce.
Half of users scammed on online dating sites
Spamming, scamming, and fake profiles asking for cash. As online dating soars in popularity, new research reveals its many risks. Are algorithms the best route to love anyway?
Wrong-headed romance of teenage runaway Megan
Police are searching across Europe for Megan Stammers, on the run with her maths teacher. What are the risks someone will run when they are seduced by a dream?
“The clocks slid back an hour and stole light from my life.” In the 1993 collection Mean Time, Duffy reflects on death, loss and the passage of time. Nothing can last forever — so how should we react when we lose the things and people we love?
Rio: ‘I thought it was weak to show emotions’
Two years ago the former England captain lost his wife to breast cancer. Tonight, a documentary explores his difficult journey with grief. Is he right to go public with something so private?
Unique ancient wonder at IS militants’ mercy
Islamist militants have seized one of the Middle East’s most prized cultural sites amid Syria’s civil war. How concerned should we be at the desecration of relics from millennia ago?
Study suggests dolphins grieve for their dead
Most people think of social rituals like mourning as being unique to humans. But many studies now suggest that higher mammals also grieve. Are animals more like us than we think?