I dreamed that, as the result of a protracted competition of handwritten poems, I had won the position of Poet Laureate, though the appointing company seemed reluctant to conclude this. But there was no doubt. Andrew Motion had, after ten years, become rather fed up with the business. It now fell to me to juggle enthusiasm, devotion, sacrifice and ― of course where poetry was concerned ― ultimate failure.


This released a great deal of talk and made further sleep impossible. I tossed in autobiographical surges.