A poet laureate is a title officially bestowed upon a writer, usually by a monarch or government, to compose poems for special events and occasions.
The annual stipend supports the artist in residence to compose such poems and works that articulate the nation’s literary voice.
The role stems from classical tradition when poets and heroes were crowned with a laurel wreath for winning perfomances. It was reinstated in the 1300s in the royal courts of Italy and in the 1500s in Britain by King Henry VII.
Currently, over a dozen national governments continue the poet laureate tradition.
In the USA the poet laureate is described as one who:
serves as the nation’s official poet. During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.
In the UK the poet laureate is described as one who:
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1. (Poetry) the poet appointed as court poet of Britain who is given a post as an officer of the Royal Household.
What an amazing tradition, the governments and nations acknowledge the value in paying a skilled artist to capture the nations’ voice in rhyme and ballad!
If you were Poet Laureate what would you say about your nation?
One regularly hears the epithet that ‘communication is key’ to relationships. If you can truly listen, hear each others perspective, express your views – you can evade a multitude of woes. Learn each others love language, learn each others Myer-Briggs personality profile, understand each others’ family of origin narrative and so on.
I recently complimented a 5 year old girl on her beautiful hair and dress, calling her a princess. Her aunt promptly added, ‘and we love you for your brains and personality darling.’ Yes – I was a child who hated that adults cou-cou’d children, clucking to them and calling them cute! Especially as a girl, it becomes frustrating to not be asked about ambitions and thoughts. How have I slipped into being that adult?
If stories express a voice, the perspective of characters, then they contribute to our human conversation. The more we read stories, the more communication we receive, the more we are forced to hear the perspective of others and to empathise and understand.
However, the more stories we read from the same kind of people – the more we hear one voice. Do we find ourselves sliding into stereotypes and views of gender, race, social class, political view, religion? Stories need a multitude of voices from a multitude of people and persepctives to contribute to our conversation.
To flourish as humans, our happiness stems from good communication, and for this to occur we need to hear and listen to good stories.