Page last updated at 23:05 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 00:05 UK

Andrew Motion leads Arts honours

Andrew Motion
Motion's 10-year tenure as Poet Laureate ended earlier this year

Former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has been knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Motion's knighthood for his services to literature comes weeks after his 10-year tenure of the Laureateship ended.

He said he accepted his knighthood on behalf of "the parish of poetry" and was "absolutely thrilled and moved".

The outgoing professor of poetry at Oxford University, Christopher Ricks, 75, a celebrated author and scholar of English literature, is also a new Sir.

Renowned pianist Mitsuko Uchida has been made a dame for her services to classical music.

And Graham Vick, artistic director of the Birmingham Opera Company, becomes a CBE.

I feel very touched and gratified because these things are quite seldom given to poets
Andrew Motion

Motion said he thought something was afoot when an "odd-looking envelope" landed on his doormat a few weeks ago.

"I felt absolutely thrilled and moved at the same time, but part of my being moved by it was realising the people I most wanted to tell about it were my parents, who are both dead, so it has an elegiac feel," he said.

"I feel very touched and gratified because these things are quite seldom given to poets, compared to other sections of the arts community.

"It's striking how by and large with writing in general and poetry in particular the names appear less often in these kind of lists than actors, and that's all the more reason to gratefully accept it for the parish of poetry."

Motion had published several volumes of poems, as well as and biographies of fellow poets Philip Larkin and John Keats, before he was made poet laureate in 1999.

His work as laureate included a poem for the Queen Mother's 100th birthday in 2000 and a rap for Prince William's birthday.

Carol Ann Duffy took over as the first female laureate last month.

Prof Ricks has written about Bob Dylan as well as various English poets including Milton, Keats and Tennyson. His tenure as Oxford's professor of poetry comes to an end in September.

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