Poet visits Merrick Hall

By Areena Arora, Managing Editor

Thursday, Oct. 20 was a usual day on Ohio Wesleyan’s campus, except the first woman, first Scot and first openly gay British poet laureate recited her poetry to an audience of over a hundred students, faculty and Delaware residents in Merrick Hall.

Carol Ann Duffy became Britain’s Poet Laureate in 2009 and is currently a professor of contemporary poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University. Duffy was invited as part of OWU’s English department’s Katherine Kearney Carpenter Lecture series.

The reading began at 7 p.m., which included her works on the characterization of the fictional character Faust’s wife. After over an hour of poetry, Duffy answered audience members’ questions.

Mr. Faust, Duffy said, was just like Donald Trump. Faust had everything, yet desired more, she said, before narrating her poetry. Nancy Comorau, assistant professor of English, had the idea of inviting Duffy. Duffy was contacted through a speaker’s bureau, according to Comorau.

“I suggested Carol Ann Duffy … for a number of reasons,” Comorau said. “Her poetry is complex and interesting, but it’s also accessible upon first read. I believed that her position as the first woman to hold the role of UK Poet Laureate and first LGBTQ+ per- son in that role would speak to a number of constituencies on campus.”

During her visit, Duffy visited three classes and also spoke at a roundtable on Fri- day, Oct. 21 for invited students, said Comorau. After her talk, Duffy also signed her books for audience members.

Duffy is proud of her identities as the first gay woman to hold the title. “The most important thing is … there hadn’t been a woman for nearly 400 years. It’s just disgraceful … We have now national poets in Wales Island and Scotland … so it seems to be changing.”

She added, “I think it’s important for public figures to be out … they have a responsibil- ity to the society.”

“This is a place I’ve never been to, so I was curious to come here,” she said. “I enjoyed it very much. Often when you read in a different country, the humor doesn’t quite work … you feel reassured when they laugh.”

Duffy said she has been to the U.S. many times as a visiting poet.