Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 17:42 UK

Parent death affected poet's work

By Lisa Summers
BBC Scotland news

Carol Ann Duffy
Carol Ann Duffy said her mother's death "deafened" her

Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy has told BBC Scotland how her mother's death affected her ability to write adult poetry.

She said her mother's death "deafened" her and said it was easier for her to write children's poetry instead.

The Scot was speaking in Edinburgh as she launched a new show for children, "The Princess' Blankets".

The fairytale poem set to music, about a princess who is always cold, is showing at The Scottish Storytelling Centre as well as the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The Glasgow-born poet said: "My mum died four years ago and that sort of deafened me. I haven't written much adult poetry for four years and I've just begun to.

"And obviously she was from here, she had an Irish background but grew up in Scotland - so when I think of the country, I think very much of her.

"The relationship between place and person and bereavement is very productive at the moment after a long silence."

The World's Wife

She added: "I've actually written more for children than I have for adults, I think it's three-to-one in terms of books.

"I think it was through poems as a child that I came to writing. I was very lucky with my English teachers and the books that I read as a child.

"I feel a sort of duty to expand my poetry to include poems for children."

Carol Ann Duffy is the first female poet laureate in the role's 341 year history and she is the first to have been born in Scotland.

Her feminist series about the women behind famous men, "The World's Wife" has also inspired a one woman show by actress Linda Marlowe at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Ms Marlowe said: "It is so clear what she is trying to say to people and to women, and women through the ages, where things haven't really changed that much."



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