British poet laureate pens ode to gas meters

2016-04-19 20:02


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London - Britain's poet laureate is working on a new poem - about the demise of traditional gas and electricity meters.

Carol Ann Duffy admitted the work marking the government's decision to fit all British homes and small businesses with smart meters by 2020, was "one of my most unusual projects".

"Gas and electricity meters have been a fixture under stairs and in cupboards for more than a hundred years so it felt fitting to preserve their place in household history with a poem," the Glasgow-born writer said.

"It is definitely one of my most unusual projects, but hopefully I'm able to produce a piece that captures the last whirs of these spinning machines before they make way for their digital counterparts."

Last year, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra addressed the same subject with a recording of A Requiem For Meters, a three-minute piece played entirely on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters.

But some Britons were baffled by Duffy's fixation with the humble gas meter at a time when Queen Elizabeth II - who named her to the ten-year honorary post of poet laureate in 2009 - is preparing to mark her 90th birthday on Thursday.

Royalists questioned why Duffy was not penning a poem for the monarch instead.

"She is the poet laureate, she certainly should be knocking out a poem," Ingrid Seward, royal biographer and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, told The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"I think the queen herself will not mind, but the people around her would think that's a bit of an insult," Seward said.

Duffy wrote a poem for the 2011 wedding of the monarch's grandson Prince William and for the 60th anniversary of the queen's coronation in 2013.

But she has also taken inspiration from subjects as diverse as England footballer David Beckham and the scandal over British lawmakers' parliamentary expenses.

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