Poet Gillian Clarke awarded Queen's gold medal

Acclaimed writer Gillian Clarke has been awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, Buckingham Palace announced today.

The unique honour recognises her body of work which culminated in the collection A Recipe for Water, published last year.

The Cardiff-born writer is the national poet of Wales and her work is well known to teenage readers as a selection of her poems have been set for GCSE English for a number of years.

The 73-year-old poet, who is married with three children, has pioneered the teaching of creative writing and co-founded Ty Newydd, the writers' centre in North Wales, in 1990.

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who chaired the medal's judging panel, described Clarke as "part of the literary landscape of this country".

She added: "As such, it is easy to take for granted the impact and influence of her work.

"Take an early poem, perhaps, like Letter from a Far Country. First heard on radio and published in the early 1980s, this poem subtly and lyrically describes the everyday household responsibilities of a woman with a full, ordered, demanding life at home and a longed-for, free, dream-like life elsewhere.

"We could read it as a poem about a trapped housewife but it is so much more than that.

"It is a moving and beautiful statement about freedom and constraint. Freedom and constraint - whether writing about women, ecology, politics or the natural world - these are the hallmarks of Gillian Clarke's art."

Distinguished past recipients of the Gold Medal have included WH Auden (1936), John Betjeman (1960), Philip Larkin (1965), Stevie Smith (1969) and Ted Hughes (1974).

The Gold Medal for Poetry was instituted by George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield.

The honour is awarded for excellence in poetry for either a body of work or an outstanding poetry collection published during the year of the award.

Clarke will receive her honour from the Queen next year.