Carol Ann Duffy pens scathing post-election poem

Carol Ann Duffy pens scathing post-election poem

Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem responding to the general election result, painting a scathing portrait of prime minister Theresa May. 

In "Campaign", published in the Guardian on Saturday (9th June), Duffy describes the prime minister's body "a question-mark", her mouth "a ballot box that bit the hand that fed", her heart "a stolen purse" and her rhetoric "an empty vicarage, the windows smashed".

It continues, "Then she had balls, believe it", and references her "bloody difficult" reputation, before concluding with a nod to the naughtiest thing she had ever done: "The furious young/ ran towards her through the fields of wheat."

The poem has received a mixed response on social media. Scottish literary critic Glenda Norquay tweeted it showed poetry was “alive and kicking” and the Literary Emporium applauded the poet for "performing her role as poet laureate in the best way possible". Granta-published writer Eli Goldstone was among those who felt differently, commenting on Twitter it had “infringed my human right not to read shitty garbage poems”.

Faber-published author Emily Berry, editor of The Poetry Review, remarked, “A nation divided”, in a tweet referring to the variety of reactions it inspired. It follows the result that produced a hung parliament; the Tories won 318 out of 650 total seats, eight short of the number needed to command a majority.

Mancunian poet Tony Walsh, who performed his poem "This is the Place" to help Manchester cope after the recent terror attack, also wrote a poem about the general election.

In "Net Worked", performed in a video for the Guardian that published yesterday, the poet known as Longfella spoke out about the election's impact on the young, who he said "know full well it's their time to stand in line and call out bullshit when they smell it". He added that they "will not be crossed again". 

Walsh's profile has risen dramatically since his performance of "This is the Place" in a Manchester vigil the day after the Arena bombing, in which 22 people were killed and 220 need hospital treatment. His collection Sex & Love & Rock & Roll (Burning Eye Books) jumping to number 3 in Amazon’s poetry charts at the end of May. A book inspired by the poem is now in the works to fundraise money for victims of the attack.