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Poems, palaces and butts of sherry: exhibition brings poets laureate to life

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Edinburgh Art Festival show explores appointed poets from Dryden to Duffy noting falling deference to the monarch but revived delight in the perk of the sherry sack

"A crate of Oloroso sounds like a dream," wrote an excited Queen Mother to her friend the poet laureate Ted Hughes on hearing he was going to send her a few bottles. "I am not only very grateful but extremely touched that you should wish me to share in this lovely gift."

The handwritten letter shines a light on the revival of a slightly eccentric tradition giving the poet laureate a butt of sherry and goes on public display for the first time in Edinburgh.

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