Sunday, June 12, 2016

Carol Ann Duffy introduces poems for our love of bookshops

The poet laureate is leading the Shore to Shore tour of Britain in celebration of independent sellers. She introduces new work by Clive James, Jackie Kay and Alan Jenkins

The Guardian - Saturday 11 June, 2016

The Shore to Shore tour – in celebration of independent bookshops – starts in Falmouth on 19 June and will end in St Andrews on 2 July. Alongside me in the back of the tour bus will be the leading Welsh poet Gillian Clarke, world poet Imtiaz Dharker, new Scots makar Jackie Kay, and journeyman musician John Sampson, complete with crumhorn. (He will have to sit alone ...) Along the way, at each stop – be it Chipping Norton, Crickhowell or Corbridge – we’ll team up with an extra poet specially associated with the area; including, in Caernarfon, the new national poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn and, in St Boswell in the Scottish Borders, the recent makar, Liz Lochhead. To coincide with the tour, Picador are publishing an anthology of newly commissioned poems about bookshops, some of which are printed for the first time here today. Adding up all the poets either on the tour or in the book, or both, we have nearly 40 combining to sing the praises of independent bookshops.

Such places, whether in the tiny village of Much Wenlock or the graceful city of Bath, are deeply woven into the fabric of their local communities. The people who, devotedly, run them are the human link between author and reader: knowing both their customers and their customers’ children; celebrating their locality; and being almost always the only retailers to accept and sell 12 letter-pressed pamphlets by local poets. Their very existence is a kind of love and we – writers and readers – should love them in return by supporting them. See you on the road.   MORE

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