Poet's rhyming riposte leaves Mrs Schofield 'gobsmacked'
Poet Carol Ann Duffy has been touted by some as possibly being in line to be the first ever woman British poet laureat and here we see her response to the English exam boards removing her poem 'Education for Leisure' off the reading lists for national examinations. This decision comes after a complaint by a Mrs. Scholfield who the papers variously describe as an external examiner or teacher although this reporter understands that she is in fact a part-time exams invigilator. The poem is considered by many as a powerfully anti-violence poem rather than one 'promoting knife crime'. A link to Duffy's new poem 'Mrs. Scholfield's GCSE' is in the story highlighted and also HERE.
"Today I am going to kill something," says the unnamed protagonist of Carol Ann Duffy's poem Education for Leisure. "Anything. / I have had enough of being ignored and today / I am going to play God."
Duffy, one of Britain's most admired poets, might have been tempted this week to feel the same way, following the news that the exam board AQA had ordered schools to remove from its GCSE curriculum an anthology containing the poem because it supposedly glorified knife crime.
Happily, in a move that may suggest she did not intend her work to be taken literally, Duffy has chosen the more measured response of penning a poem in reply. The verse, entitled Mrs Schofield's GCSE and published here for the first time, makes reference to acts of violence in Shakespeare's plays: Othello killing Desdemona, Macbeth's dagger delusions, Tybalt's stabbing in Romeo and Juliet.
"What it seems to me to be saying is that Shakespeare - the greatest writer - some of his stuff is a bit dangerous [too]," Duffy's literary agent Peter Strauss said yesterday. "It's saying, look at what's been written previously before you criticise this."