The recipient of the “Golden Wreath” Award for 2021, the main award of the “Struga Poetry Evenings” is the British poet, essayist, playwright, professor and creative director of The Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, Carol Ann Duffy.
In accordance with the renewed tradition, this decision was announced at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, on the occasion of the “World Poetry Day”. This year, the celebration was in honor of 100 th anniversary since the birth of Blaze Koneski, whose jubilee is part of the calendar of important international jubilees supported by UNESCO.
The award will be presented to the laureate during the “Bridges” poetic reading, one of the central events of this year’s festival edition, planned to take place from the 25 th to 30 th August.
In the explanation of the decision, Professor Elizabeta Sheleva, PhD, President of the Managing Board of the “Struga Poetry Evenings”, notes:
“The poetry of Duffy is intertwined with sensible experiences and metaphysical observations on love, loss, moving, nostalgia, sorrow, memory, and transience of time (the end of youth, the death of the parents, the empty nest syndrome and the children leaving the home). In this symphony of poetic images, nature is not only consumed in the role of lyrical scenography, but becomes an equal associate in the play of the world we cannot get over, whose sceneries are the markers of the spiritual unrests and alarming questions of the lyrical subject, reflections of a wondering spirit which communes with the world beyond the visible, in a line of confusing associations, eschatological indicators and impotent, iconic threats hanging in the air.
Duffy’s poetry is lucid, sharp, authentic (and removed from current fads), weaved with a gender sensitive string, a spiritual deconstruction of gender forms and an unmasking of the gender asymmetry of power. She challenges the gender stereotypes as manipulative, and lends her mighty voice, her wittiness, insightfulness and joviality to the, until then, restrained, abandoned yet gifted women, trapped in the role of mute extras behind the scene of history.”
Carol Ann Duffy (born in Glasgow, 1955, in a family of Irish descent) is one of the most famous poetic names in Great Britain. Alongside being highly valued and esteemed in academic circles, she is a favorite of the broader audience too. An important detail towards this statement is the fact that her poetry has already been included as part of the school reading lists in national curriculums at universities and schools alike.
Starting with her first, provocatively titled book “Standing Female Nude” (published in the middle of the 80s), Carol Ann Duffy had managed to garner a broad spectrum of readers, but also the undisputable support from literary critics, who recognized her as “an outstanding, new voice of poetry”. Since her debut book, nearly all new poetry publications by Duffy have been awarded with the most prestigious national and international recognitions (including the prestigious T. S. Eliot poetry prize, awarded for her collection Rapture (2005), making her the first female author in history to have received this prize), followed by the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the PEN/Pinter Prize, etc.), which is an ample testimony to the unequivocal reputation of her poetry among the demanding, critical public.
For the first time in the 400-year-old tradition of this recognition, in 2009, Duffy was the first female poet to hold the post of Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom.
She is the author of nearly 50 books, the latest being: Sincerity (2019), Frost Fair (2019).
Besides being the recipient of numerous important international literary awards, Carol Ann Duffy has been awarded high honors, one of the highest is being named as “Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” in 2015.
In her official address to the Macedonian public, Carol Ann Duffy states:
“In these grim, dark times for the world, I am overwhelmed to find at my door the light of a Golden Wreath. To have my name added to a list of poets who have meant so much to me throughout my reading and writing life is an extraordinary gift for which I will be forever grateful. Poetry is a vocation, the music of being human, which seeks only to answer the world and, in so doing, add to it with the new songs of words. This year, the expression “words fail me” has taken on a somber meaning for me as poet, so this wonderful award from North Macedonia has lifted my spirits and made me so happy to be welcomed into this great European tradition of valuing poetry.”