Those who say we should dismantle the role of Poet Laureate altogether, the trick they miss is that being called this thing, with the weight of tradition behind it, and with the association of the Royal family, does allow you to have conversations and to open doors, and wallets, for the good of poetry in a way that nothing else would allow.
People write me from all over the country, asking me, and sometimes even telling me, what they think a poet laureate should do. I found that immensely valuable.
In many ways, when you’re a Nobel peace laureate, you have an obligation to humankind, to society.
It turns out that a Nobel is also followed by other recognitions, and perhaps the most unexpected of these is that the Japan Karate Association in Tokyo has now made me an honorary 7th-degree black belt, something that, given my athletic abilities, is even more unimaginable than being an Economic Sciences Laureate.
We have a disturbing cultural appetite for novelty, and it seems to me wrong each new laureate should dislodge the ideas of his or her predecessor, especially when they’re still unfolding.
I was appointed Poet Laureate. It came totally out of the blue because most Poet Laureates had been considerably older than I. It was not something that I even had begun to dream about!
Pretty much the day I stopped being laureate, the poems that had been few and far between came back to me, like birds in the evening nesting in a tree.
As poet laureate, I was asked to be a spokesman for literature.
It’s the combination of the intimate and the public that I find so exciting about being poet laureate.
It is a tremendous honor to be named poet laureate, but one that I find humbling as well, because it’s the kind of thing that makes me feel like – even as it’s been bestowed upon me – I must continue to live up to what it means… Being the younger laureate in the age of social media is a new challenge.