Laureates

Apart from Geoffrey Chaucer, elected as the MP for Kent in 1386 (whose own son Thomas sat for Oxfordshire on and off between 1401 and 1421), the only poet laureate and member of parliament was Henry Pye.
 
Pye sat for Berkshire (1784- 90) and took up the laureateship after William Hayley turned it down on Thomas Warton’s death. He is often cited as the worst laureate ever, but he had at least one fan, in the Commons – William Mitford, the Tory MP for Newport, Bere Alston and New Romney intermittently between 1785 and 1818. Pye dedicated a sonnet to him:
 
. . . Nor will you, though your
nicer ear retain
What sounds to purest
melody belong,
This tribute from a ruder
bard disdain,
Proud to record your friendship
in his song.

This article first appeared in the 07 October 2013 issue of the New Statesman, The last days of Nelson Mandela

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New Digital Editor: Serena Kutchinsky

The New Statesman appoints Serena Kutchinsky as Digital Editor.

Serena Kutchinsky is to join the New Statesman as digital editor in September. She will lead the expansion of the New Statesman across a variety of digital platforms.

Serena has over a decade of experience working in digital media and is currently the digital editor of Newsweek Europe. Since she joined the title, traffic to the website has increased by almost 250 per cent. Previously, Serena was the digital editor of Prospect magazine and also the assistant digital editor of the Sunday Times - part of the team which launched the Sunday Times website and tablet editions.

Jason Cowley, New Statesman editor, said: “Serena joins us at a great time for the New Statesman, and, building on the excellent work of recent years, she has just the skills and experience we need to help lead the next stage of our expansion as a print-digital hybrid.”

Serena Kutchinsky said: “I am delighted to be joining the New Statesman team and to have the opportunity to drive forward its digital strategy. The website is already established as the home of free-thinking journalism online in the UK and I look forward to leading our expansion and growing the global readership of this historic title.

In June, the New Statesman website recorded record traffic figures when more than four million unique users read more than 27 million pages. The circulation of the weekly magazine is growing steadily and now stands at 33,400, the highest it has been since the early 1980s.