Talk:Poet laureate

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This article is pretty bad at the moment... -- Sam

Why is the bulk of this article on the British poet laureate? The poet laureates in other places deserve mention in the intro! --Jiang

Successor box[edit]

I copied the following comment from Nunh-huh from my User Talk page, for the attention of other contributors to this article:

I think it's rather a bad idea to suggest (as I think having a "successor box" on Chaucer does) that "Poet Laureate" was established as a successible office (rather than just something the king's versifiers might occasionally be called) in Chaucer's time. I think you should reconsider, and start these boxes only after the office had clearly been established as such (say after Charles I). - Nunh-huh 21:48, 22 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I agree with Nunh-huh. If there are no objections, I shall leave Ben Jonson's predecessor box empty or write "no official predecessor". Earlier poets (and there are only a handful) will have some kind of standardised comment naming the nearest earlier and later laureate-equivalents. -- Heron 08:12, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Now if there were only some NPOV way to say that poems produced as Poet Laureate are nearly always dreadful...far worse than the rest of a poet's output. - Nunh-huh 00:00, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)
True, although some of our articles on the poets do mention the poor quality of their laureate output. I decided to start with Samuel Daniel, rather than Ben Jonson, as the first official laureate, although there seems to be a case for including Spenser. Before him, the title seems to have been intermittent. -- Heron 13:00, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)

What is a Poet Laureate?[edit]

It is a poet apointed by the goverment to write poems for special occasions.

That might be the case of the British PL, but it is not the case of, e.g., the California poet laureate. Many

National poet and poet laureate[edit]

The following were my remarks in a recent discussion at Talk:Scottish literature. I think they are more on topic here. Also posted at National poet.

There are two concepts here, and this is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary. Our articles should generally be about a single concept; the rest is a matter of disambiguation. Yes, our article national poet should mention—by way of disambiguation—that the term can also mean something akin to poet laureate. But the article should be about people like Burns or Eminescu, and poet laureate should be about people who hold national office as a poet, regardless of the title used in a particular country. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:43, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Moved from main page[edit]

Edit This article continually talks about the "English" poet laureate: technically I think you'll find the post applies to Britain as a whole. England and Britain are not synonyms. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:03, 13 May 2006

This article isn't supposed to talk only about the brittish poet laureate. Infact, it's omitting most of the value of the term. I'd say it needs an overhaul Reynaert-ad 14:34, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

If the title at some point changed from "England" to "Britain" someone should sort out what date. And yes, we should probably be clearer where the article is talking about Britain and where about the concept in general. In any case, I removed "Francesco Petrarch (1341)" from the Tudor list, since he certainly had nothing to do with the Tudors. - Jmabel | Talk 04:03, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Another example[edit]

FWIW, a small town probably within the Chicago metro area (but in Michigan) has one.
--Jerzyt 18:00, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Ted Hughes[edit]

It strikes me as not relevant to the article that Ted Hughes was the widower of Sylvia Plath. That can be covered fully in his article. -- Beardo 01:20, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Maya Angelou??[edit]

What is the citation for claiming that Maya Angelou was poet laureate of the United States? She spoke at a presidential inauguration (Clinton's) but I am pretty certain she was never poet laureate. Certain enough that I will remove this, pending citation. - Jmabel | Talk 04:16, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

You are definitely correct and it should remain removed - the official list of poet laureates is on the Library of Congress's web site and does not include her. Sam 16:23, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Thomas Shadwell[edit]

Shadwell is referred to in the section in the "History" section as being the originator of the Birthday and commemorative poems, but his name and date of his being appointed laureate are missing from the list of laureates. See 17:43, 2 April 2007 (UTC)Rivi


I feel that the term should be 'poet laureate', uncapitalized, as with words such as 'king' and 'president' unless used as an honorific such as 'Poet Laureate Smith' or 'President Bush'. The article's header should thus be 'Poet laureate'. Alpheus (talk) 21:15, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I came to this talk page to raise nearly the same question. I notice that in the body of the article, "poet laureate" is not capitalized, and I agree with this form. However, in order to be consistent, I think we ought indeed to change the article's title to "Poet laureate." If the entire term needn't be capitalized, there's no reason to break with the standard practice of capitalizing only proper nouns and the first word of a title. Thoughts? Armadillopteryxtalk 09:57, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

Poet Laureate of England?[edit]

I cannot find any reference on the British Monarchy website [1] that the Poet Laureate is of England. It is an official appointment of the Sovereign, and began under a Stuart king, Charles II. Moreover, treating the official appointments of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments as the equivalent is incorrect: they are not the same thing. The Poet Laureate is tasked with commemorating Royal events. The Makar and the Welsh National Poet are functions set up to publicise poetry in Scotland and Wales. Whilst that may be a potential spin-off from the Poet Laureate's role, it is not the purpose of the role.--Stevouk (talk) 18:08, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I imagine "England" is used because Charles II called it England (as in Kingdom of England) and lots of people are - and have historically been - quite happy to mix and match England, Britain and the like. And what makes up either England or Britain changes over time too. Wikipedia has a whole series of articles (or had -- perhaps they've been merged) about this: British Isles (terminology) is one, and there are probably others.
I wouldn't have said that this article treats the Scottish and Welsh appointments as equivalent to the English (for want of a better word) one. I think it's more a case that they are being listed as examples of the more generic "officially appointed by a government and often expected to compose poems for State occasions" description from the lead. In fact, the National Poet of Wales is not expected to churn things out for state occasions, according to the cy:Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru version on the page, nor is s/he expected to publicise poetry. Instead the job is to "serve the whole of Wales, through both languages" (again, I'm quoting from the Welsh page, which has more information than the English one). Now I look at the first sentence, I realise that it doesn't fit the definition in another way, either: it's appointed by the Academi, not the National Assembly for Wales. Still, it broadly fits the definition. In spirit, at least :)
Telsa (talk) 11:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Of course, the present Poet Laureate is a Scot, and Cecil Day-Lewis was Irish, as was Nahum Tate. Ausseagull (talk) 10:12, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Samuel Russell[edit]

Tennyson succeeded Wordsworth on the refusal of Samuel Russell. Who was this Samuel Russell? The internet seems to have never heard of him. Yet to be offered the post of Poet Laureate he must have been held in high regard in his time. Where can we find some info about his life and works? -- JackofOz (talk) 09:53, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Rogers, not Russell. Answered here and corrected here. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 23:40, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Hesiod and the Muses[edit]

Hesiod in his Theogony writes,

"So said the ready-voiced daughters of great Zeus, and they plucked and gave me a rod, a shoot of sturdy laurel, a marvellous thing, and breathed into me a divine voice to celebrate things that shall be and things there were aforetime;..." (ll. 29-35)

This may be the reference which connects the laurel with poetry. The term poet laureate comes into use at the time of Chaucer and Petrarch and the beginning of Renaissance humanism in the 14th century. --Jbergquist (talk) 11:24, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Uncited section removed[edit]

I have removed the following section which seems to be unsupported in its entirety. If someone could provide proof of these claims that would assist but I have been unable to find any at this time. Indeed the last suggested poet laureate seems very improbable given that the test has only just ended.

Unlike most English-speaking countries, where the Poet Laureate is a writer of verse, Australia's unique social formation has meant that its Poets Laureate are usually chosen for excellence in sports. Former holders of the title include Don Bradman, Betty Cuthbert and Rod Laver. Shane Gould became Australia's youngest female Poet Laureate after her three gold medals at the Munich Olympics [citation needed]. The current Laureate is Mitchell Johnson, who took 16 wickets in three tests on the current tour of South Africa, and also scored 123 not out in the final test.

--VS talk 04:43, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

It's an absolute load of balderdash. Someone is either very much mistaken, or is intentionally confusing sporting icons with poets laureate. Afaik, none of the people named ever wrote a poem in their lives. Australia does not and has never had a Poet Laureate, although the idea has been occasionally floated. -- JackofOz (talk) 06:50, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes those were broadly speaking my thoughts also.--VS talk 07:35, 25 March 2009 (UTC)


"William Auld is sometimes considered the poet laureate of Esperantujo." This seems to be a bit of wishful thinking IMHO. Esperantujo is a metaphore for a certain aspect of the Esperanto movement. It certainly is not an authority to grant a similar title. Considered by whom and when?-- (talk) 18:31, 10 June 2009 (UTC)


There is no antecedent for the reference to "Davenant" so it doesn't make much sense in context. (talk) 07:59, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Why Nazi Germany?[edit]

Is this some not so subtle form of advertising? I don't think NS propaganda is the best example of german poetry. -- (talk) 20:43, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Since the Nazis controlled everything, it is inevitable that any German poet laureate would be appointed by the Nazis and reflect their views. The more significant question is whether there was an official national poet and who preceded and succeeded him. I suspect that the naming of poets laureate for some places in this article is a case of WP:OR. Peterkingiron (talk) 11:45, 13 August 2012 (UTC)


I don't get the reference to Silvio Berlusconi. There is not poet laureate that I know of in Italy, and if Mr Berlusconi appointed someone for his private delight (thing that I can easily see him doing), this is no public matter. ClaudioSvaluto — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:40, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Italy has no poet laureate (nor has had official poets for centuries). I cannot find any reference to this "Maximilian Schaibe" anywhere and I suggest that the part relating to Italy be deleted. --F.delu (talk) 19:18, 4 May 2013 (UTC)


I put an "accuracy" tag on this section since it appears to say that Minnesota has had a poet laureate ONLY since 2007 and never had one before. In the '60s Minnesota had a poet laureate. At some time after that the position was abolished. Michael Hardy (talk) 18:07, 22 January 2014 (UTC)