ARE Poet Laureates like buses? When you are expecting one, three turn up at the same time, or at least that's the experience of the Ledbury Poetry Festival.

Since the position ceased to be a job for life, the UK is in the happy position of having three living laureates, and all three of them will be at the world-famous Festival this year.

The living laureates are the newly-appointed Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy and Andrew Motion

The UK's new Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage will perform on Sunday July14; Carol Ann Duffy will perform on Friday July 12 and Andrew Motion will perform on Saturday July 6.

The Queen has just approved Armitage as the next Poet Laureate for a fixed-term of ten years, which is now standard.

The Festival's artistic director, Chloe Garner said: "The acclaimed poet succeeds Dame Carol Ann Duffy, who served in the role between 2009 and 2019. Previously Andrew Motion served as Poet Laureate between 1999 and 2009. He took over from Ted Hughes. Previous Poet Laureates have included William Wordsworth, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, John Betjeman.

"UK Poet Laureates initially served until their death until the rules were changed in 1999 to give more poets the opportunity to hold the position."

Chloe, who was part of a steering group appointed by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright to select the new Poet Laureate, praised Simon Armitage’s "outstanding contribution to poetry over the course of his career".

She added: "It is wonderful to see the enthusiasm with which Simon Armitage is taking on the role of Poet Laureate and that he will use the position to make exciting and positive things happen in the world of poetry. Whatever Simon Armitage does as Laureate will have a significant impact because that is the power of poetry. Ledbury Poetry Festival will support him as much as possible in his efforts.”

Ledbury Poetry Festival box office opens this Saturday May 18.

Contact details: 01531 636 232 or