Carol Ann Duffy: Poems Background

Carol Ann Duffy: Poems Background

Carol Ann Duffy is a Scottish poet and a professor of contemporary poetry at Manchester Metropolitan and was appointed Poet Laureate in 2009. She is the first openly LGBT poet (Duffy is bisexual) to hold this position.

Duffy's simplistic language and clear use of poetical techniques, such as metaphor in Valentine from where she compares love to an onion, has made her a popular choice on the school curriculum. Duffy has acted as a political poet, particularly since her appointment as poet laureate, her first poem as laureate was a sonnet written in response to the MP expense scandal. She has also worked within the tradition of war poets, for instance, her poem "Last Post" commissioned by the BBC to honor the deaths of two of the last three surviving WW1 veterans made explicit references to Wilfred Owen's "Duce et Decorum Est."

Sexuality and gender are especially prevalent within her work. In "Warming Her Pearls," she tells the story of a ladies maid in love with her mistress. Her book The World's Wife is particularly subversive, the collection retelling the stories of famous men from the eyes of their wives and lovers giving voice to traditionally voiceless women such as Shakespeare's wife in Ann Hathway and new perspectives to old stories such as the resurrection of Lazarus in Mrs Lazarus.

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