I am very fond of Wendy Cope’s poetry and so was interested to hear what she had to say about the post of Poet Laureate: a position she is clearly not inclined to accept if offered:
The 400-year-old institution of the poet laureate has been labelled “ridiculous” and “archaic” by Wendy Cope.
Cope, one of the country’s most widely read and best-loved poets, is seen as a frontrunner for the position after the expected retirement of Andrew Motion next year. If appointed, Cope would be the first woman laureate.
But that now seems unlikely. Answering a question at this year’s Guardian Hay festival, Cope told her audience that the laureateship is something we could do without.

For those of us who learned to read with Peter and Jane (or Nip and Fluff, or Janet and John) Cope’s poem, Reading Scheme, has particular resonance. It combines great humour by parodying early readers with an inferred narrative of suburban dalliance. Brilliant. I use it to illustrate the importance of rhyme in the development of reading skills by deleting the rhyming words and asking teachers to insert them. It’s harder than it seems.

I have referred to Ladybird books previously and included spoof titles here.

Incidentally, in the same article about the position of Poet Laureate, I was shocked to learn that the historical exclusion of women from the post had been purely circumstantial. … However, rumours continue to circulate that Carol Ann Duffy , (whose book Rapture is always by my bedside), believed to have been a prominent candidate before Motion’s eventual appointment in 1999, was discounted because of her radical politics and “non-conformist” lifestyle. A Downing Street source told the Guardian at the time that Tony Blair was “worried about having a homosexual as poet laureate because of how it might play in middle England”.
This would be a less surprising statement from Downing Street had it pertained to Elizabeth Barrett Browning than to a 21st century poet. Let’s hope that that era is well and truly over.