Liz Lochhead for National Poet
January 19, 2011
Liz Lochhead was today named as Scotland’s National Poet at a special event at the National Library of Scotland. She succeeds her friend Edwin Morgan, who held the post from 2004 until his death in August 2010.
Liz Lochhead said:
“I am as delighted as I am surprised by this enormous honour, which I do know I don’t deserve! Nevertheless, I accept it on behalf of poetry itself, which is, and always has been, the core of our culture, and in grateful recognition of the truth that poetry — the reading of it, the writing of it, the saying it out loud, the learning of it off by heart — matters deeply to ordinary Scottish people everywhere.”
As she wrote when accepting the post of Poet Laureate for Glasgow,
All praise to poetry, the way it has
of attaching itself to a familiar phrase
in a new way, insisting it be heard and seen.
Poets need no laurels, surely?
their poems, when they can make them happen — even rarely –
crown them with green.
Robyn Marsack, Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, says:
“Liz Lochhead is a splendid choice as the second National Poet for Scotland, with a large and affectionate following here, delighting audiences wherever she goes. Her work runs the gamut from classical to cabaret, while retaining its Scottish accent. As she is Honorary President of the Scottish Poetry Library, we are particularly pleased that her new post will enable us to work more closely with her over the next five years.”
Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy said: “I am filled with professional, poetic and personal joy to hear today that Liz Lochhead is Scotland’s new Makar. Since her early work in the 1970s, she has been an inspirational presence in British poetry – funny, feisty, female, full of feeling; a fantastic performer of her work and a writer who has tirelessly brought poetry to the drama and drama into poetry. Like her wonderful predecessor and pal, Edwin Morgan, Liz Lochhead possesses the deeply Scottish qualities of independence, inquisitiveness and inventiveness. It’s sad that Liz’s beloved husband, Tom, is not here to see her appointment as Makar, but all of us in the poetry world will be right behind her in this fabulous, fresh new chapter in her writing life.”
The National Poet for Scotland was chosen by the First Minister and two previous First Ministers, Lord McConnell and Henry McLeish, at a meeting last week, with advice provided by a literary panel chaired by Dr Marsack.
The National Poet will be contactable by email address through the Scottish Poetry Library: firstname.lastname@example.org. Specially commissioned photographs by Norman McBeath are freely available for media use.