Teresa's Reviews > The World's Wife

The World's Wife by Carol Ann Duffy
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May 27, 12

Recommended to Teresa by: James Murphy
Read in May, 2012

These are fun, clever, sly poems, reimagining fairy tales, Bible stories (one of my favorites was "Queen Herod"), myths, legends and even true stories, but all from a female point of view and in contemporary language.

Though I used the word 'fun,' a few really aren't. Some are too sad ("Mrs Quasimodo") or too touching ("Anne Hathaway") or too scathing ("Mrs Beast," the penultimate poem, states in no uncertain terms the reason for this collection) to be considered mere fun. And even the ones that are a lot of fun, end with a devastating line that begs for the poem to be reread, and so I would.
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Reading Progress

05/23/2012 "'... birds are the uttered thought of trees ...'

from "Little Red-Cap""

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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James Murphy Wow. Let us know what you think. The other day on booker we had an exchange in which we humorously thought of the exchange of Auden and Eliot between Britain and America as the exchange of team players. I'd give up a couple of poets for Duffy, and maybe one to be named later.


Teresa James wrote: "I'd give up a couple of poets for Duffy, and maybe one to be named later."

High praise!

I'm enjoying them. She's clever and fun.


message 3: by Fionnuala (new) - added it

Fionnuala Thanks for sending this my way, Teresa. It's time I read some poetry and The World's Wife sounds like a good place to start


Teresa Fionnuala wrote: "Thanks for sending this my way, Teresa. It's time I read some poetry and The World's Wife sounds like a good place to start"

You're welcome, Fionnuala. I look forward to seeing how you like it.


James Murphy I think you captured Duffy's anger. I thought, though, that it was intended, that the individual poems were bringing attention to the voices and viewpoints of women formerly excluded from these iconic stories. The tone of these poems is different from other Duffy poetry I've read. Nice review.


Teresa James wrote: "I think you captured Duffy's anger. I thought, though, that it was intended, that the individual poems were bringing attention to the voices and viewpoints of women formerly excluded from these ic..."

You're right, there are many poems here where the anger comes through the cleverness. It's just that it was front-and-center in "Mrs Beast," which happened to also be one that I liked a lot. I love work that reimagines classic stories, taking into account the viewpoints of those who weren't originally the focus -- "Mrs Midas" is another I liked a lot.

Thanks, Murph!


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