With the role of writing official verse for the Queen falling vacant, the 400-year-old institution could at last break new ground
Vanessa Thorpe, arts and media correspondent writing in The Observer
Left, Carol Ann Duffy. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe
On the death of Ted Hughes nearly 10 years ago the search began for a writer to fill the historic role of Poet Laureate. Among those considered frontrunners, alongside Andrew Motion, the current laureate, were two brilliant rival poets: Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage. While Armitage was ruled out because of his relative youth, Duffy's unconventional lifestyle was said to have counted against her.
With the role due to fall vacant again next year, both candidates have emerged at the head of the pack once more, with Duffy the favourite at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
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