The Virago Book of Wicked Verse

Anthology of humourous poetry by women from antiquity to the present. Published by Virago 1992.


This wonderfully sharp and witty collection of poems – feisty, bawdy, erotic, irreverent – is an illuminating comment on women’s ability to transform poetry into a medium of subversiveness. There are jibes at hypocrisy and prejudice, plenty of sexiness and sauciness, and a riotous turning of the ‘Lady Poet’ image on its head. (‘A falling leaf could stir her./A wilting, dying rose / would make her write, both day and night, / the most rewarding prose. / She’d find hidden meaning / in every pair of pants / then hurry home to be alone / and write about romance’ – Maya Angelou).

With poets spanning continents and centuries, this anthology demonstrates lavishly the myriad ways in which women can be ‘wicked’ – by their own definition…

poems by…

Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Aphra Behn, Nina Cassian, Emily Dickinson, Carol Ann Duffy, Lorna Goodison, Jacky Kay, Liz Lockhead, Suniti Namjoshi, Grace Nichols, Dorothy Parker, Fiona Pitt-Kethley, Izumi Shikibu, Stevie Smith, Anna Wickham…and many more.