The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy***

Reading dates: 01–13 January 2015

After finishing Pride and Prejudice and deciding to concentrate on reading poetry together for the time being, we settled on Carol Ann Duffy, the poet laureate. This collection writes women into history: Quasimodo’s wife, Circe, Medusa, Frau Freud …

It starts with a high, sustained, note; with this beautiful re-writing of red riding hood:

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The body, sexual desire, destiny placed into the woman’s hands, a problematic relation to the partner, usually male, defining them and voice, words, language are common themes uniting each of the pieces. This, The Devil’s Wife, was my favourite:

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I must admit that when Neil read it and I listened, I did not know what it was about. The clue, Neil explained, is in the peroxide on the last section, Appeal. Read it again. The buried doll. The devil is Ian Brady; the wife, Myra Hindley. I read it forward, and back, and forward again. What a perfect narrative.

Other than these two, the other poems were good, but not better than that. Apart from one, which made me laugh out loud (what are the chances of that with poetry?):

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