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Poetry Canadian

The Bad Wife

by (author) Micheline Maylor

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2021
Canadian, Women Authors, Family
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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Micheline Maylor’s The Bad Wife is an intimate, first-hand account of how to ruin a marriage. This is a story of divorce, love, and what should have been, told in a brave and unflinching voice. Pulling the reader into a startling web of sensuality, guilt, resentment, and pleasure, this collection asks: what if you set off a bomb in your own house? What if you lose love and destroy everything you ever knew? These poems have a disarming immediacy, full of surprising imagery, dark humour, and the bold thoughts of a vibrant and flawed protagonist. Balancing a need for wildness and the space to dwell, The Bad Wife explores the taut confines of those vivid, earthly pleasures that we all know and sometimes can’t escape.

I forgot the oath: Do no harm. -from “Yesterday, I Went to the Market”

About the author

Micheline Maylor is a Poet Laureate Emeritus of Calgary (2016-18) and was the Calgary Public Library Author in Residence in fall 2016. She teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University. Her most recent book Little Wildheart (UAlberta Press) was long-listed for both the Pat Lowther and Raymond Souster awards. Find her online at

Micheline Maylor's profile page


  • Short-listed, Raymond Souster Award / League of Canadian Poets
  • Winner, Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry | Alberta Book Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta

Editorial Reviews

"Micheline Maylor is Canada’s Anne Sexton. To understand The Bad Wife, imagine Sexton on stage in 'cum-fuck-me-shoes,' perhaps chain-smoking, belting out Walt Whitman’s lost one-woman show about Helen of Troy. Linguistically inventive, surreal, playful, and ruthlessly honest, Maylor wades into the swamp of divorce, emerging with almost unbearable images of humiliation, devastation, joy, and praise. 'I’ve been,' she exclaims, 'a home wrecker, / witch, savior, mentor, mother. Let me tell you, I have been all / those things.' In these confessional poems, Maylor—without a whiff of virtue signaling—places her own psyche and body under the microscope, as great artists do."

John Wall Barger, author of The Mean Game

"By turns ornithological, scatological, geological, and meteorological imagery thread the poems together in a firsthand account of a midlife crisis, surreal and psychological, that fascinates with its psychic energy and playfulness." Gillian Harding-Russell, Arc Poetry, June 2023 [Full review at]

"These poems will wreck your home, wake you up with their noisy sex, devastate like a Wall Street banker on a Saturday night bender. These poems will sober you up in the morning with the strength of flowers, of prayer flags. These poems understand everything you’ve lived through. They show you where you live."

Susan Musgrave, author of Origami Dove

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