Poet Laureate’s ‘Thankless’ Task Is Rewarded With Knighthood

Andrew Motion accepts Queen's birthday honour on behalf of the 'parish of poetry'

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Chiswick Audience Hears of Poet Laureate’s ‘Thankless’ Job


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He caused quite a stir in literary circles last year when he told an audience in Chiswick that writing for the royal family had given him a case of writer’s block. He also complained how the Queen "never gives me an opinion on my work for her".

Well she has now awarding the former Poet Laureate a knighthood in her birthday honours list for services to literature. His knighthood comes just weeks after his 10-year tenure of the Laureateship ended.

Speaking to the BBC, Motion said said he accepted his knighthood on behalf of "the parish of poetry" and was "absolutely thrilled and moved". He thought something was afoot when an "odd-looking envelope" landed on his doormat a few weeks ago.

"I felt absolutely thrilled and moved at the same time, but part of my being moved by it was realising the people I most wanted to tell about it were my parents, who are both dead, so it has an elegiac feel," he said.
"I feel very touched and gratified because these things are quite seldom given to poets, compared to other sections of the arts community.

"It's striking how by and large with writing in general and poetry in particular the names appear less often in these kind of lists than actors, and that's all the more reason to gratefully accept it for the parish of poetry."

June 16, 2009