30 Apr 09
The People’s Purple Poet Laureate!
Campaign momentum grows to appoint Purple Ronnie as the official poet of the monarch
William Wordsworth, Alfred Tennyson, John Betjeman, Ted Hughes, and now…Purple Ronnie?
Yes, it’s time for the powers that be – in this case the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) – to appoint the next poet laureate. The public is being given a greater role than ever in helping to choose who should take on the role of official poet of the monarch. And a group of citizens is already campaigning for a whole new approach to that role – by suggesting the appointment of the author of such best-selling poetry collections as Purple Ronnie’s Little Guide to Life and Purple Ronnie’s Little Poems for Friends.
It’s not as strange a concept as it may seem. Purple Ronnie is established; he has been around for well over 20 years. He is still in print; he is in fact the UK’s best-selling poet, not only in books, but in greeting cards. And he has vast experience of writing for special occasions, as books for Mother’s day (Ronnie’s Little Book for a Lovely Mum) and Valentine’s Day (Ronnie’s Little Book for the World’s Best Girlfriend), among many others, show.
In fact, having kept a low profile up to this point, Ronnie has now acknowledged the public interest in his potential appointment and formally agreed to put himself forward as a candidate, albeit in his own, highly distinctive way:
A POEM TO THE QUEEN
Hello, dear your majesty
I think you’re really great
And I know that if you met me
You’d want to be my mate
And although you may have chosen
The next “Laureate to be”
Don’t you think that next time
It really should be ME!
So what can Ronnie bring to the role of poet laureate that is new or different? Well, let’s hear from Ernie Rupplon, who kicked off the campaign with a letter to the DCMS. “He writes about things that people understand: love, sex, mums, dads and drinking for instance,” says Ernie. He adds: “He is, I admit, a bit cheeky. But he’s never downright rude or unpleasant.”
And the public wave of support for the purple poet has now been acknowledged at the highest levels. Colin Green of the DCMS public engagement team wrote back to Ernie, saying: “We are grateful to you for sharing your views on the appointment of the next poet laureate and have noted your support for Purple Ronnie.”
Janet Woodward, Head of Licensing for Coolabi, the company that owns and licenses the Purple Ronnie brand, says: “Ronnie has worked hard for many years to give voice to the hopes and desires of the British people in a form at once highly individual and yet completely universal. The appointment of this figure as poet laureate would be a fitting recognition of his unstinting devotion to his art and audience. We at Coolabi wish him well and offer him our wholehearted support.”
Writer and author Giles Andreae, who discovered Purple Ronnie and gave his poems the platform that launched his stellar success, adds: “While I understand that a poet laureate who usually wears nothing except purple underpants may not seem appropriate for the role, mild eccentricity is surely no bar to genius – as many past poets laureate could no doubt confirm. Ronnie is a poet for our times – the People’s Poet in many ways – and would be an excellent choice to succeed Andrew Motion in the laureate’s role.”
Colin Green ended his letter to Ernie Ruplon with the following comment: “This is an exciting time for the future of poetry”. Who knows? It could also be an exciting time for Purple Ronnie.
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