Should Laureates wear cloaks? And other reasons why poetry matters

Andrew Motion and the poet’s cloak

As a delightful footnote to yesterday’s post about Andrew Motion, I came across Nancy Banks-Smith’s review in the Guardian of Wednesday night’s Why Poetry Matters on BBC2. ‘Among the better bits was Andrew Motion’s abashed admission that he used to wear a cloak, feeling it was incumbent on a poet. His mother bought it for him.’ So although yesterday’s poem showed the influence of the Georgian Brooke, Motion (bless him) already saw himself as a latter-day Tennyson. Well, it did the trick: like his hero, Andrew eventually took the Laureate’s wreath as well as his cloak!

The Poetry Archive site has a recording of Tennyson reading ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ in a wonderfully atmospheric wax-cylinder recording.