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It’s Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty

by Judith Viorst
Persephone book no:

11 12 13

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A Well Full of Leaves
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ISBN 9781903155011

The honeymoon is over
And he has left for work
Whistling something obvious from La Bohème
And carrying a brown calfskin attaché case
I never dreamed he was capable of owning,
Having started the day
With ten pushups and a cold shower
Followed by a hearty breakfast.
(What do we actually have in common?)
The honeymoon is over
And I am dry-mopping the floor
In a green Dacron dry-mopping outfit from Saks,
Wondering why I'm not dancing in the dark,
Or rejecting princes,
Or hearing people gasp at my one-man show,
My god, so beautiful and so gifted!
(The trouble is I never knew a prince.)

Judith Viorst is an American poet, novelist and psychoanalyst. As well as It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty and Other Tragedies of Married Life (1968), and its companion in our volume, People & Other Aggravations (1971), she has written other poetry collections, including Suddenly Sixty and Other Shocks of Later Life. Her inspiration is marriage and motherhood and the conflicts they cause: romance versus reality, love for a child versus passionate longing for sleep, love for a husband versus – it is the 'versus' that Judith Viorst writes about: with tenderness, realism, insight and wit.


The endpaper is a 1968 Liberty's fabric called 'Bangles'. The three-dimensional kinetic pattern is characteristic of the period, the pinks and purples reflecting the influence of pop art and psychedelic design; it might have hung in the Viorst family apartment.

Read What Readers Say

JL via Instagram

Almost anyone over a certain age will find plenty to chuckle at in this collection of poems. Judith Viorst’s amusing verses demonstrate that life doesn’t actually always turn out how you thought it might; marriage and children change your plans…

Margot via Goodreads

I haven't read a poetry collection I've loved so much in a long time. This was absolutely gut-wrenching and played on my life experiences and conception of love. This book is beautiful and devastating, I can't even explain it. Perfectly concise too.

Alice via Goodreads

I laughed and cried my way through this insightful series of poems. Viorst's insights into the disillusionment of marriage but not love, age but not self-esteem, was refreshing and uplifting. Granted, I was never hip to begin with but Viorst brought a humour to being 34 that I didn't think was possible.

Categories: America Humour Overseas Poetry Social Comedy Woman and Home

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