Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 13:20 UK

Laureate post is 'quite a ride'

Andrew Motion
Motion writes verse for significant Royal occasions

Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has said reports he had writers block because of "bad communication" with the Queen were "patently ridiculous".

Motion told the BBC that comments he made at a London arts festival earlier this week had been crudely reported.

The 55-year-old has had the job of writing verse on Royal occasions since 1999, and will hold the post until next year.

"It has certainly been quite a ride," Motion said.

"But overall, the good things far outweigh the difficult things."

Motion's commissions have included composing a poem to mark the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh's diamond wedding anniversary and a modern verse for Prince William's 21st birthday.

He had told the Ealing Arts Festival earlier this week that Poet Laureate was a "thankless task" and that he had a case of writer's block.

But he told the BBC: "The idea that I had stopped writing poems because I had bad communication with the Queen is patently ridiculous.

"But it is certainly true that quite a lot of the pressures surrounding Laureate work in general - the travelling, a lot of going in to schools, speaking up for poetry - does exert pressures, and, certainly in my case, stand in the way of writing poems.

"There are obvious difficulties around writing poems about events in the Royal calendar if you're a lyric poet especially.

"The whole business of commissioning for lyric poetry is complicated and partly because however the good the poems I write might be, those people who don't have any sympathy with the Royal family aren't going to like them.

"On the other hand, being able to blow the bugle for poetry, and to be able to stand in a public place and speak up for poetry, has been a wonderful privilege.

He added: "Would I do it again? Absolutely."

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