When we were first introduced to Carol Ann Duffy prior to reading her in class, we were told about the scenario of her switching publishers because she believed The World’s Wife was more like pop culture poetry than her previous works. After reading the first half of the book of poetry, I agree. Many of her pieces in The World’s Wife utilize allusions to common stories, fairy tales, fables, or whatever else you may call them. The way Duffy uses these allusions reminds me of the way traditional poets from the past use mythological references to add layers to their poems. Duffy’s use of these characters push her poetry into the mainstream because they become more relatable to people who are not accustomed to reading poetry or dealing with literature. In fact, a friend of mind also attended the reading as a part of another class assignment. He was supposed to profile Duffy and instead left the venue telling me that he doesn’t usually enjoy poetry but he wanted to read more of Duffy’s work.
I believe that many people find poetry hard to relate to or confusing because it often deals with difficult themes like those found in Selling Manhattan. However, those themes are mostly absent from The World’s Wife. Replacing poems that focus on death and loneliness are humorous poems. The poem that I think encapsulates Duffy’s goal is “Mrs. Darwin.” Consisting of only five lines, “Mrs. Darwin” reads like a short joke with a punch line at the end, and it works. “Mrs. Darwin” elicited the most laughs out of the crowd at the reading and it was by far the shortest. Duffy’s The World’s Wife is unlike any other poetry I have ever read and I think that was her goal. She wanted to reach out to the readers who are not comfortable with poetry and invite them in with poems that were fun and easy reads.