These Collected Poems, published halfway through Carol Ann Duffy’s time as poet laureate, make clear that she is a true Romantic poet in the tradition of Byron, Wordsworth, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Anne Ridler and Elizabeth Bishop. In his introduction to Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth defined Romantic poetry as ‘the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’. And these pages do indeed overflow.
I have known Carol Ann Duffy since the late 1970s when her father, Frank Duffy, an AUEW shop steward, was the Labour parliamentary candidate in Stafford, the neighbouring constituency to mine, in Leek. Born in Glasgow in 1955, and educated in Stafford, Duffy left home in the 1970s to read philosophy at Liverpool University.