I thought that those of you reading Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife for this semester’s free class might like to hear from her about why she wrote these poems. In an interview you can read here, she explains:
What I wanted to do in the book was to look at all the stories—fairy tales, myths, stories from history, film and pop music or whatever, stories of heroes which had informed me as a writer, part of my cultural ancestry. So I wanted to celebrate them, in a way, but also find a truth which hadn’t been amplified previously. And the way I wanted to do that was to find a female perspective on the character, and I did that by finding a personal connection with the fairy tale, myth, piece of cinema, etc., so that although I’m wearing the mask of Queen Herod or Mrs Beast I’m not lost in my own place, my own life. It might be that it is autobiographical in that it might be true to my imaginative life or my emotional life but not necessarily true to the actual details of my life. Once I’d done that I typed out the poems in a sort of chronological movement. So we start with “Little Red Cap” which is about a young girl becoming a poet and end with “Demeter” which is about a woman becoming a mother. So that it follows the arc of my own life in some ways.