Released on 01 January 2015.

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The World's Wife

4.15 based on 2563 ratings & 179 reviews on

2000 Short-listed

T. S. Eliot Prize

1999 Short-listed

Forward Prize for Poetry Best Collection


With an introduction by Jeanette Winterson

This unique collection of poems from the Poet Laureate, filled with her characteristic wit, is a feminist classic and a modern take on age-old mythology.

Who? Him. The Husband. Hero. Hunk.
The Boy Next Door. The Paramour. The Je t'adore.

Behind every famous man is a great woman - and from the quick-tongued Mrs Darwin to the lascivious Frau Freud, from the adoring Queen Kong to the long-suffering wife of the Devil himself, each one steps from her counterpart's shadow to tell her side of the story in this irresistible collection.

Original, subversive, full of imagination and quicksilver wit, The World's Wife is Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at her beguiling best.

In the media

She reveals the foibles of the great, the ghastly and the ordinary bloke and the sufferings of those closest to them. The result is a melange of history lesson, fairy-tale and modern-day domestic tragedy, with the occasional joke thrown in for good measure. . . Duffy's poetics are flawless - she never misses a beat, her pace is exhilarating, and her language is original and exciting
Duffy takes a cheeky, subversive, no-nonsense swipe with a dish clout at the famous men of history and myth. They don't have a chance in hell of dodging her quick-witted wallop as she relays their stories from their spouse's points of view
The Times
It sparkes with wit, intelligence and an impressive lightness of touch, while drawing on some weighty emotional experiences: loneliness, jealousy, self-loathing, desire, the fierceness of a mother's love