The poem that begins “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple” is actually titled “Warning.” It was written in 1961 by Jenny Joseph, who lives in Minchinhampton, England, and became more widely known in 1984.
This poem, and a widely popular anthology that included it (compiled by Sandra Martz), has changed the attitudes of uppity, aging women everywhere and inspired more than a few younger ones, too.
There are workshops, women’s groups, and artwork all inspired by this one poem.
Does art matter? This poem does.
The anthology compiled by Sandra Martz includes the original poem and many works inspired by it, all on how women and all of us can age a little less gracefully and with a bit more fun.