Read Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis by Wendy Cope Free Online
Book Title: Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis|
The size of the: 4.51 MB
Edition: Faber & Faber
Date of issue: October 4th 1999
The author of the book: Wendy Cope
Format files: PDF
ISBN 13: 9780571202508
Read full description of the books Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis:When I was at university and writing endless essays about The Waste Land, few things gave me greater pleasure (because I am not a big Eliot fan) than pulling out Wendy Cope's ‘Waste Land Limericks’, in which she condenses the whole poem into five admirably no-nonsense quintains:
In April one seldom feels cheerful;
Dry stones, sun and dust make me fearful;
Clairvoyantes distress me,
Commuters depress me—
Met Stetson and gave him an earful.
She sat on a mighty fine chair,
Sparks flew as she tidied her hair;
She asks many questions,
I make few suggestions—
Bad as Albert and Lil – what a pair!
The Thames runs, bones rattle, rats creep;
Tiresias fancies a peep—
A typist is laid,
A record is played—
Wei la la. After this it gets deep.
A Phoenician called Phlebas forgot
About birds and his business – the lot,
Which is no surprise,
Since he'd met his demise
And been left in the ocean to rot.
No water. Dry rocks and dry throats,
Then thunder, a shower of quotes
From the Sanskrit and Dante.
Da. Damyata. Shantih.
I hope you'll make sense of the notes.
This encapsulates quite well her most appealing qualities – wit, charm, a knowing literacy – as well as the running strain of pastiche which some critics have considered (wrongly in my view) a kind of anti-intellectualism. In fact playful rhymes like this come – well, it seems obvious to me – from a place of appreciation and love, and many other contemporary poets get similar treatment. Indeed she has an alter-ego called Jake Strugnell – a kind of Ted Hughes caricature – whom she uses to poke fun at the male literary world. Strugnell writes everything from bleak series like the ‘Songs of Budgie’ (nodding at Hughes's Crow) to haiku of hilarious banality (‘The cherry blossom / In my neighbour's garden – Oh! / It looks really nice’).
Still, perhaps her best poems are those where she is being more serious, and these tend to revolve around relationships. My favourite in this collection (her first) is the bittersweet ten-poem sequence ‘From June to December’, much of which has to do with a sort of distinctly English sensible sexiness:
It wouldn't be a good idea
To let him stay;
When they knew each other better—
But she put on her new black knickers
I think she's extremely funny, and a much cleverer poet than she often gets credit for, playing deftly with different forms when she needs to. I guess I associate her with a kind of Radio 4, middle-class British referential literary culture that, for all I know, is not as strong now as it was in the 80s when this came out. Maybe that's why she's not much read anymore. I for one miss her.
Read information about the authorWendy Cope was educated at Farringtons School, Chislehurst, London and then, after finishing university at St Hilda's College, Oxford, she worked for 15 years as a primary school teacher in London.
In 1981, she became Arts and Reviews editor for the Inner London Education Authority magazine, 'Contact'. Five years later she became a freelance writer and was a television critic for 'The Spectator magazine' until 1990.
Her first published work 'Across the City' was in a limited edition, published by the Priapus Press in 1980 and her first commercial book of poetry was 'Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis' in 1986. Since then she has published two further books of poetry and has edited various anthologies of comic verse.
In 1987 she received a Cholmondeley Award for poetry and in 1995 the American Academy of Arts and Letters Michael Braude Award for light verse. In 2007 she was one of the judges for the Man Booker Prize.
In 1998 she was the BBC Radio 4 listeners' choice to succeed Ted Hughes as Poet Laureate and when Andrew Motion's term of office ended in 2009 she was once again considered as a replacement.
She was awarded the OBE in the Queen's 2010 Birthday Honours List.
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