People, Oct. 23, 1972

"I only write when the mood comes," said Sir John Betjeman, "and it was just about to come when the phone started ringing and the television cameras arrived. Now I'm showing off like mad." At 66, Betjeman had just been named England's 19th poet laureate. The royal appointment, which pays $170 a year plus $66 "in lieu of a butt of sack," filled him first with "surprise, then a feeling of being humbled, and then pleasure." Perhaps England's most popular contemporary poet, Betjeman said he had no intention of carrying out the laureate's ceremonial duties. "I would not, for instance, be...

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