Shropshire poet in Laureate's final anthology
A wordsmith from Shropshire is one of just four writers whose work has been included in Carol Ann Duffy's final anthology as Poet Laureate.
Thirza Clout, from Much Wenlock, has been marked out as 'one to watch' by the famous poet, who steps down from the role she has held for 10 years next month.
A selection of Thirza's work has been included in the Laureate's Choice, and she will embark on a reading tour which will include Wenlock Books.
The former journalist and comedian said: "I'm delighted, it does feel like an honour. The Laureate' Choice is all about people who aren't that well published, so it's great to feel like I've got this new voice in my 60s.
"I like to think some of my poetry is funny, but some of it is also sad. It's a mixture. It's like life, up and down."
The title poem in Thirza's collection is called Aunts Come Armed With Welsh Cakes, which looks at her relationship from her loving Welsh aunts from her father's side of the family, but also the overwhelming feelings experienced by her mother, who grew up as an only child.
Thirza said: "It was a wonderful time for me when they visited because they were very loving and cuddly, but my mother probably found it more difficult.
"I've been quite involved in the Wenlock Poetry Festival which has been really good. I think it's important to read and listen to other people's work and not be afraid of being influenced."
Thirza believes poetry is becoming more popular among the younger generation, and believes the spoken word has been poignant for many in the face of adversity, pointing to Tony Walsh's This Is The Place, which he read after the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.
She said: "We've had some awful tragedies. When the Manchester bombing happened, one of the most moving things was the poem.
"Young people are doing more spoken word performances. When you feel recognition that someone else has felt similar emotions about something you have written about, it's very special."
Anyone who would like to be added to the guest list for Thirza's reading at Wenlock Books at 7pm on May 17 can call the shop on 01952 727877.