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Family Values Hardcover – 7 Apr 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (7 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571274218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571274215
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 1.2 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'As always with Wendy Cope, the joy of these poems is their accessibility. Each one as carefully pared back as a good joke ... those who find poetry a closed door couldn't find a better way in than this book.' --The Herald --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The stunning new bittersweet collection by Wendy Cope, Family Values is a major poetry title for this season

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Franks on 28 Sep 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wendy Cope's poems have an instant appeal: they speak of what it is to be human, and flawed. The first poem of this collection, "A Christmas Song" speaks of "all the men and women whose love affairs went wrong", "separated parents whose turn it is to grieve while children hang their stockings up elsewhere on Christmas Eve". But Wendy Cope isn't sentimental, she faces these imperfections, and finds humanity. There is a wry humour about her poems that promotes a robust attitude to life. This is a marvellous collection, she doesn't put a foot wrong.

Other reviewers have spoken of their favourite poems in this collection. Mine is "An Anniversary Poem", on the tenth anniversary of the ordination of women as priests in the Church of England, which brings out the exasperated affection that so many of us feel for that flawed institution. "The C of E is treating us as equals. Just about" she writes. And "Some men behave atrociously, but most are not too bad." Many men, ashamed of the way women have been treated, and vowing to do better themselves, will be grateful for that. But reading Wendy Cope, we know better than to become complacent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Alexander on 23 Aug 2011
Format: Hardcover
There are no duds in this collection. Each poem catches the perception and mood of the moment with startling clarity - moments of wry reflection, new-born understanding, breath-catching desire or occasional elegiac tracing of the past. These poems are often very funny, sometimes sad - always clear, detached, intensely recognisable: no self-pity here. Wendy Cope's poems seem to me to articulate the hopes, regrets and confusions of my own immediately-postwar generation: at school imbibing the cadences of the Anglican liturgy and its comfortable if puzzling conventions, before being tumbled out warily into the slackening norms of society in the 60's and exploring till we were merged in the unselfconscious mainstream of our age. This collection must be Wendy Cope's best so far. I think it's terrific.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr Andrew T Wilson on 6 Aug 2011
Format: Hardcover
Fantastic book.perceptive,funny and concise. Wendy Cope has an amazing ability to write poetry around life experiences common to many in 2011. The onl sadness is the long gaps between her poetry books!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Obelix on 15 April 2012
Format: Paperback
More than any poet since Betjeman, Wendy Cope has the rare gift of being funny and serious - often in the same poem. That is crucial. Beneath the jaunty villanelles, the comic repetitions and the triple-metre, some hard truths about life and love are being smuggled in. One favourite is the poem 'April'. I quote it here in full:

'The birds are singing loudly overhead
As if to celebrate the April weather.
I want to stay in this lovely world forever
And be with you, my love, and share your bed.

I don't believe I'll see you when we're dead.
I don't believe we'll meet and be together.
The birds are singing loudly overhead.
I want to stay in this lovely world forever.'

Like Auden's 'Lullaby', the poem gains its power and maturity from cherishing what it knows is only temporary.

Two other poems, 'Health Scare' and 'Keep Saying This', are franker confrontations with illness and death, and rhyme and repetition become charms, invoked to keep despair at bay ('It helps to say their names and make them rhyme'). You can't help being reminded that 'Ring-a-ring-of-roses' was written about the Black Death.

Accepting futility, though, doesn't mean going down without a fight. Cope's sharp (but never withering) sense of humour can deliver wicked, one-two combinations to the head, as in 'Special Needs', 'Unbearable', 'Football', and 'Differences of Opinion':

'He tells her the earth is flat -
He knows the facts, and that is that.
In altercations, fierce and long
She tries her to best to prove him wrong.
But he has learned to argue well.
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell.
She cannot win. He stands his ground.

The planet goes on being round.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kat on 24 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The collection brilliantly captures both the ordinary and the sublime to take you on a journey filled with laughter and tears.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Musiclady on 8 Nov 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A little gem of a book, nice to handle and good to read. Worth buying and will look forward to reading some more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary Bronte on 9 Oct 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I went to see Wendy Cope read her poetry recently which was a great experience. When I got home I just felt the need to get her book as soon as possible so I could look again at what she had written, and discovered several new poems to enjoy. She just manages to pinpoint those memorable moments of life with such great precision, in so few words, in the way she records experiences we may have had, or may not have had, with such insight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ypsilanti on 23 Nov 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wendy Cope never fails to connect with me directly. Such a considered choice of all the words we have; hers are exact, and always hit home. If only I could see the vagaries of life with her wisdom and compassion; so I know I can depend on Wendy for both of those.
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