Poets Laureate of Great Britain

Poets Laureate of Great Britain
by J. Zimmerman

* History. * FAQs. * Notes on the laureated Poets. * Non-Laureated Poets.
* Alphabetic List. * Chronological List. * Links. * Books.

The greatest British Poets Laureate are Tennyson, William Wordsworth, and the first Laureate, John Dryden .

Several of the other Laureates were famous poets, particularly Ted Hughes, Robert Southey, John Masefield, Sir John Betjeman, Cecil Day-Lewis, and the current Laureate, Andrew Motion.

History and responsibilities.

In Great Britain, the Poet Laureate is:

Shortly after the 1668, the position became the Poet Laureate of Great Britain in 1707, when The Act of Union created "Great Britain" as the political name of England, Scotland, and Wales.

The name Laureate derives from the Latin laureatus ("crowned with laurel"). It comes from an ancient Roman tradition of honoring a person (especially a poet) who has shown excellence of achievement. The honor is signified by presenting the person with a wreath of laurel leaves.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on the Poets Laureate of Great Britain.
  1. What does "Laureate" mean? Answer.
  2. Who was the best? Most frequently this is said to be Tennyson.
  3. Who was the worst? Several contenders. The winner is one of: Colley Cibber, Laurence Eusden, Henry James Pye, and William Whitehead.
  4. Wasn't Ben Johnson the first Poet Laureate? Not officially. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, many monarch and other leaders patronized writers, who repaid the favor by praising their sponsors. One example is Jonson received a pension from James I, unofficially for writing masques.
  5. Which Poet Laureate was dismissed from his job? John Dryden. And why? See notes on John Dryden.
  6. How many Poets Laureate (including the one present in 2002) have there been? 19 people have held the position of Poet Laureate.
  7. Who was the longest serving Poet Laureate? Alfred, Lord Tennyson held the post for 42 years.
  8. What is the job description? There isn't one! A major challenge of the unique post is the freedom for the poet who accepts the role. Each poet has shaped it in their unique way.

Alphabetic List of the Poets Laureate of Great Britain.

Austin, Alfred (1835-1913)
Betjeman, Sir John (1906-1984)
Bridges, Robert (1844-1930)
Cibber, Colley (1671-1757)
Day-Lewis, Cecil (1904-1972)
Dryden, John (1631-1700)
Eusden, Laurence (1688-1730)
Hughes, Ted (1930-1998)
Masefield, John (1878-1967)
Motion, Andrew (1952- )
Pye, Henry (1745-1813)
Rowe, Nicholas (1674-1718)
Shadwell, Thomas (1642-1692)
Southey, Robert (1774-1843)
Tate, Nahum (1652-1715)
Tennyson, Alfred, Lord (1809-1892)
Wharton, Thomas (1728-1790)
Whitehead, William (1715-1785)
Wordsworth, William (1770-1850)

Chronological List of the Poets Laureate of Great Britain.

John Dryden (1631-1700)
Thomas Shadwell (1642-1692)
Nahum Tate (1652-1715)
Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718)
Laurence Eusden (1688-1730)
Colley Cibber (1671-1757)
William Whitehead (1715-1785)
Thomas Wharton (1728-1790)
Henry James Pye (1745-1813)
Robert Southey (1774-1843)
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
Alfred Austin (1835-1913)
Robert Bridges (1844-1930)
John Masefield (1878-1967)
Cecil Day-Lewis (1904-1972)
Sir John Betjeman (1906-1984)
Ted Hughes (1930-1998)
Andrew Motion (1952- )
Carol Ann Duffy (1955- )

Sketches on the Poets Laureate of Great Britain, in chronological order.
Or, see our lists of Poets Laureate in * Alphabetic Sequence. * Chronological Sequence.

Not-quite Poets Laureate of Great Britain.

These poets were not Poets Laureate, for the reasons given.


Books about the Poets Laureate of Great Britain.

Buy Verses of the Poets Laureate Buy Verses of the Poets Laureate: from John Dryden to Andrew Motion, by Phillis Levin (Editor) and Andrew Motion (Introduction): describes and shows the work of the first 19 poets appointed as Poet Laureate since Charles II created the first in 1668.

Related Books.

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