Now for some poetry as part of this week’s International Women’s Day theme. I feel a bit like Elton John with this week’s blog – I’m still standing! YEAH YEAH YEAH!
I was introduced to the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, the first female Poet Laureate (only took 341 years…), when a university friend produced The World’s Wife as a play, and Germaine Greer saw the production and apparently gave it a very favourable review! I could recommend any volume of Duffy’s poetry but this is probably my favourite.
Published in 1999, The World’s Wife takes some of the most famous men in myth and history and gives the (usually otherwise historically silent) females in their lives the chance to tell their stories. So, we hear from Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathway (who does not lament being left the infamous ‘second best bed’ as it was ‘the bed we loved in..a spinning world…where he would dive for pearls’), Frau Freud (whose response to Freud’s accusations of penis envy is ‘dear ladies, the average penis – not pretty…the squint of its envious solitary eye…’), Mrs Darwin (who tells her husband that ‘something about that chimpanzee over there reminds me of you’) the Kray Sisters (who describe the Suffragettes as ‘Diamond ladies…those birds who fought for the Vote, salt of the earth’) and many more.
These poems are clever, funny and turn the traditional male-centric stories on their head. I love the fact The World’s Wife is apparently a set text on some A-level English Literature courses these days. There is hope!