Carol Ann Duffy

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Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

Carol Ann Duffy, CBE (born 23 December 1955) is a Scottish poet, playwright, freelance writer and current Poet Laureate, the first woman to hold that title.


  • Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
    and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
    The room is turning slowly away from the moon.
    • Words, Wide Night, from The Other Country (1990).
  • Not a red rose or a satin heart.
    I give you an onion.
    It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
    It promises light
    like the careful undressing of love...

    I am trying to be truthful.

    • Valentine, from Mean Time (1993).
  • Here.
    It will blind you with tears
    like a lover.
    It will make your reflection
    a wobbling photo of grief.
    • Valentine, from Mean Time (1993).
  • Light gatherer. You fell from a star
    into my lap, the soft lamp at the bedside
    mirrored in you,
    and now you shine like a snowgirl,
    a buttercup under a chin, the wide blue yonder
    you squeal at and fly in.
    • The Light Gatherer, from Feminine Gospels (2002).
  • I cannot say where you are. Unreachable
    by prayer, even if poems are prayers. Unseeable
    in the air, even if souls are stars.
    • Death and the Moon, from Feminine Gospels (2002).
  • As anyone who has the slightest knowledge of my work knows, I have little in common with Larkin, who was tall, taciturn and thin-on-top, and unlike him I laugh, nay, sneer, in the face of death. I will concede one point: we are both lesbian poets.
  • What do I have
    to help me, without spell or prayer,
    endure this hour, endless, heartless, anonymous,
    the death of love?
    • Over, from Rapture (2005).
  • When you have a child, your previous life seems like someone else's. It's like living in a house and suddenly finding a room you didn't know was there, full of treasure and light.
  • There'll be what you might call a moment of inspiration – a way of seeing or feeling or remembering, an instance or a person that's made a large impression. Like the sand and the oyster, it's a creative irritant. In each poem, I'm trying to reveal a truth, so it can't have a fictional beginning
    • Interviewed in The Guardian, December 4, 2005.

Standing Female Nude (1985)

  • Six hours like this for a few francs.
    Belly nipple arse in the window light,
    he drains the colour from me. Further to the right,
    Madame. And do try to be still.
    I shall be represented analytically and hung
    in great museums. The bourgeoisie will coo
    at such an image of a river-whore. They call it Art.
    • Standing Female Nude.
  • This is the word tightrope. Now imagine
    a man, inching across it in the space
    between our thoughts. He holds our breath.

    There is no word net.

    You want him to fall, don't you?
    I guessed as much; he teeters but succeeds.
    The word applause is written all over him.

    • Talent.
  • One saw I was alive. Loosened
    his belt. My bowels opened in a ragged gape of fear.
    Between the gap of corpses I could see a child.
    The soldiers laughed. Only a matter of days separate
    this from acts of torture now. They shot her in the eye.
    • Shooting Stars.
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