A poetry invite to the palace: are you on the list?
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are holding a reception “to celebrate contemporary British poetry” on Tuesday 19 November at 6pm – and, not surprisingly, the poetry world is wondering who has been invited, and who has not. On Twitter leading performance poet Luke Wright said he had received an invitation, but added: "I think I've got to stick to my principles and not go, even if that seems a little pompous/self-important." Another poet, Dean Atta, reacted to his invitation on Twitter: "I can't wait to tell my grandparents!"
While a number of other poetry figures also shared news of their invitations on social media - and Write Out Loud's article spurred Adam Horovitz into satirical verse, (see below) - Todd Swift, of publisher Eyewear, said in his blog: “Naturally not everyone can be invited, so the list has become a de facto Who's Who. It would be a fascinating list to see. I don't seem to be on it, for instance, but I know that the young poet, Keiran Goddard, shortlisted for the Melita Hume prize, is, though yet to have his debut collection out.” Swift added: “I actually would have attended, gladly. I am British, and would have been glad to be included. Yet again, though, these hierarchical lists in British poetry - already a small room on a small island - tend to compound divisions, rather than overcome them. We shall see. I hope everyone invited has a grand time.”
As AA Milne observed - knowingly or wistfully - in his poem 'Buckingham Palace,' about Christopher Robin's trip there with Alice: "They've great big parties inside the grounds."
After seeing our article, Adam Horovitz wrote a satirical poem after Milne titled ‘They’re Inviting Poets to Buckingham Palace’.
His poem includes the lines “Alice is marrying a tousle-locked bard. / ’A poet’s life is terrible hard,’ ", and “They’ve great big parties inside the grounds. / ’I wish they’d just sent us a hundred pounds,’ / Says Alice”.
Horovitz said on his blog that it was written “whilst watching with interest a certain amount of huffing and puffing from sections of the poetry community on the internet about whether or not one should, as a poet, take up an invite from the Queen to celebrate contemporary poetry at Buckingham Palace”. He added: “I wasn’t invited, so can safely bask in satire without having to worry about whether I’d have gone or not …”
His penultimate stanza observes: “ ‘Do you think they’ll give us a chance to perform?’ / ‘It’s all about tea, dear, not bucking the norm,’ / Says Alice.”
You can read the full poem on Adam Horovitz’s blog here