The World's Wife: Poems

The World's Wife: Poems

by Carol Ann Duffy

Paperback(First Edition)

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Be terrified.

It's you I love,

perfect man,

Greek God, my own;

but I know you'll go,

betray me, stray

from home.

So better by far for

me if you were stone.

—from "Medusa"

Stunningly original and haunting, the voices of Mrs. Midas, Queen Kong, and Frau Freud, to say nothing of the Devil's Wife herself, startle us with their wit, imagination, and incisiveness in this collection of poems written from the perspectives of the wives, sisters, or girlfris of famous — and infamous — male personages. Carol Ann Duffy is a master at drawing on myth and history, then subverting them in a vivid and surprising way to create poems that have the pull of the past and the crack of the contemporary.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780571199952
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 04/09/2001
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 253,244
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.18(h) x 0.22(d)

About the Author

Carol Ann Duffy has published four highly praised collections of poetry. Her last, Mean Time, won the Forward Poetry Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Prize. She lives in Manchester, England.

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World's Wife 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
elmyra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was in turns witty and poignant. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
AndrewBlackman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked up a free copy of this in New Beacon Books ¿ there was a stack of them left over from World Book Night earlier this year. It¿s a collection of poems all on the same theme of overturning male-centred history, literature and myth, and looking at familiar stories from the neglected wife¿s perspective. So, for example, we have Mrs Aesop tiring of her husband¿s constant boring fables, and Delilah explaining why she cut off Samson¿s hair (he¿d complained to her that he didn¿t know what it was to be gentle, and so she¿d done it to help him change, to take away the pressure of always having to be strong). There are also more modern characters, like Frau Freud, the Kray sisters, and Elvis¿s twin sister.There¿s a playful, humorous tone to the poems, and I enjoyed reading them on a quiet afternoon recently in a sun-drenched beer garden. A lot of them had the same basic premise, of a wife wryly mocking her husband¿s posturing and self-aggrandisement, and this got a bit repetitive after a while. My favourite poems were those that truly brought a new twist to a familiar story, imputing new and more interesting motives to the characters, as in the Delilah example already mentioned, or my favourite of all, Queen Herod. In this poem, we learn that it wasn¿t the King who ordered the killing of all first-born male children after all, but the Queen, who does it to protect her own newborn daughter: ¿No man, I swore, will make her shed one tear.¿ I found it a powerful and poignant reworking, and loved the last few lines: We do our best, we Queens, we mothers, mothers of Queens. We wade through blood for our sleeping girls. We have daggers for eyes. Behind our lullabies, the hooves of terrible horses thunder and drum.
SmithSJ01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a brilliant and witty collection that is accessible for all ages. The use of myth and history means most of the names will be at least familiar if not well known to readers. I found some of the `wives¿ to be hilarious and thoroughly enjoyed Mrs Midas and from Mrs Tiresias. Duffy¿s humour is excellent and not a word is wasted. You really get an idea of how the women are thinking by what she was written.As a student or a teacher there are ample examples of poetic and literary devices that have been used but on this occasion I¿m reviewing it solely as a reader of Carol Ann Duffy¿s poetry. Well worth the purchase and the read. I bought my copy after hearing her read from it ¿ which added so much to the experience. Fantastic writing and I think it is the best work she has done.
herschelian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A book of poems about the women who are married to men famous in history and fable - Mrs Faust, Mrs Aesop, Mrs Quasimodo, Mrs Midas. Wonderful images, thought provoking, warm and witty but with a steel edge under the velvet.
JeannineHallGailey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These persona poems in the voices of famous male character's wives are amusing, insightful, and fun to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago