Don Paterson (OBE) has been awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. He was recommended by Carol Anne Duffy (CBE), the British Royal Court's Poet Laureate. The Scottish bard was chosen for the medal by a committee of "eminent men and women of letters", selected by Ms. Duffy.
Says Duffy: "It’s simply about excellence, and it means that the monarchy can sprinkle a little stardust on poetry.”
Yes, she really said that.
Unabashed, she continued to heap praise on the medallist's poetry: “It’s formally very accomplished, and technically brilliant" (i.e. it's uses conventional rhyme and metre). Duffy then ploughed on, embarassingly, about how Paterson taps into "deep, timeless human experiences" and ended with a resounding cliche, cleverly combined with a bit of canonisation: "He’s a poet for all time who speaks very much to us in the 21st century, to our preoccupations, but he also belongs in the company of the poets of the past.”
It's appropriate that the award was instituted by King George V: Paterson's poetry reads to me like minor Georgian poetry. But that's the way with literary awards; the example of Abdellatif Laabi below shows that they sometimes, almost by chance, get the right person. But not often. Ah, well. 'Twas ever thus.