The World's Wife Poems

Carol Ann Duffy

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

96 Pages


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The haunting and unusual poems in The World's Wife assume the voices of, among many others, Mrs. Midas, Queen Kong, Delilah, and Frau Freud, to say nothing of the Devil's wife herself. Duffy's personae poems startle us with their wit, imagination, and incisiveness in a collection written entirely from the perspectives of the wives, sisters, and girlfriends of famous—and infamous—male personages. These pieces intelligently and engrossingly draw on myth and history, always subverting them in vivid and surprising ways. They have the pull of the past and the crack of the contemporary—and, as Kate Kellaway wrote in London's Observer, they "are at once accessible and brilliantly idiosyncratic and subtle."


Praise for The World's Wife

"[Duffy] offers us the past as it could have been. . . . [Her] project recalls the poems of the Americans Ai and Pamela White Hadas, but the élan of this volume sets it apart, the characters (and poems) triumphant."—The New Yorker

"Duffy is one of the freshest and bravest talents to emerge in British poetry—any poetry—for years."—Eavan Boland, The Independent on Sunday (London)

"These thirty poems vibrate with intense colloquialisms, physicality, energy, freshness, and cheek. . . . They leap off the page even in a silent reading. . . . The best are inventive, subversive, and written with great rhythmical and rhyming dash."—Anthony Thwaite, The Sunday Telegraph (London)

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Carol Ann Duffy

  • Carol Ann Duffy is the author or editor of several volumes of poetry, including two for children. She has received, among other honors, the Forward Prize, the Whitbread Poetry Award, the Lannan Award, and the E. M. Forster Prize for her work. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Duffy lives in Manchester, England, and is currently Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.

  • Carol Ann Duffy (C) Sue Adler