SIR Walter Scott, whom we featured earlier in the week because his epic poem Rokeby inspired a new exhibition at the Bowes Museum, was offered the position of Poet Laureate in 1813.
He turned it down. Instead, the honour went to Robert Southey who was expelled from Westminster School because he wrote an article condemning flogging.
This is by way of introducing two living poets who are heading our way, one the current Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and the other the poet she replaced, Sir Andrew Motion.
In Southey’s day Poet Laureate was a post held until death.
It was Sir Andrew who decided it should be a 10-year job when taking over in 1999 after Ted Hughes died. In 2009, Carol Ann Duffy became the first woman Poet Laureate in the post’s 341-year history.
Sir Andrew’s new poetry collection is called The Customs House and he will be talking about it and reading from it at... the Customs House, South Shields, at 7.45pm on February 8.
Tickets: (0191) 454 1234 or www.customshouse.co.uk.
Carol Ann Duffy will be at Northern Stage, Newcastle, at 5.15pm on February 22. Her visit is to celebrate balletLORENT’s Rapunzel, for which she wrote the words.
The Poet Laureate will sign copies of her latest award-winning collection, The Bees. Tickets for this event and Rapunzel, which runs from February 21-23: 0191 230 5151 or www.northernstage.co.uk