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'No drugs on the bus': Carol Ann Duffy takes a road trip


The poet laureate is going on tour with her fantasy band: Jackie Kay, Gillian Clarke and Imtiaz Dharker. But will they all fit in a Mini?

There is, of course, form in this sort of thing: the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, featuring English eccentric Viv Stanshall and Scottish humorist Ivor Cutler; Ken Kesey’s bus Further, filled with Merry Pranksters, driven by key Beat Generation member Neal Cassady and commemorated in 1968 in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test; the Union Jack-emblazoned bus that carted Sporty, Posh, Ginger, Scary and Baby around in Spice World.

Now Carol Ann Duffy, the UK’s poet laureate, has invited three poets to join her on a road trip through England, Wales and Scotland, which will take them from Falmouth to St Andrews over the course of a fortnight. “No drugs on the bus!” she says, which won’t be a problem, although Gillian Clarke, the outgoing national poet of Wales, insists on some good red wine.

Remember chaps at microphones with bits of paper and a pint of beer? Live poetry used to be very boring

Poetry is who we are in words. It talks across differences. The idea that a poet is a dead white man is risible now

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