The Argus: Brighton Festival ThumbCarol Ann Duffy has the rare gift of being able to touch our emotions in a language that is simple, direct and of the everyday.

It has given her wide popular appeal, making her the perfect Poet Laureate for dealing with MPs’ expenses, Henry Allingham, David Beckham and the recent royal wedding.

As the hardest of literary skills it has also given her critical acclaim.

With her slightly nasal northern vowels she read first with wit and wonderful comic timing from The World’s Wife – contemporary, humorous takes on how it was for the likes of Mrs Midas, Mrs Faust or Mrs Darwin...

7 April 1852. Went to the Zoo. I said to him – something about that chimpanzee over there reminds me of you.

She then gave us a taste of Rapture, a chronological chart of the rise and fall of a love affair, with sharp titles such as Text, Tea and Row, before treating us to poems from her new collection, The Bees, to be published this autumn... “It starts off light. But gets darker.”

There was an explanation of our World Cup failure in The Shirt, a plea to keep our identity in postal addresses in The Counties, and a wonderful homage to real, local pub names in John Barleycorn.

Then there was The Cold, about her mother’s death. And The Premonition, about her mother. Beautiful, heart-warming stuff.