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Family Values [Hardcover]

Wendy Cope
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 April 2011

From a motorway service area to her ambivalent relationship with religion, Wendy Cope covers a wide range of experience in her new collection. Her mordant humour and formal ingenuity are in evidence, even as she remembers the wounds of a damaging childhood; and in poems about love and the inevitable problems of aging she achieves an intriguing blend of sadness and joy. Two very different sets of commissioned poems round off a remarkable volume, whose opening poem sounds clearly the profound note of compassion which underlies the whole.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (7 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571274218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571274215
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 319,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'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
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tribute to flawed humanity 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Values - Wendy Cope 23 Aug 2011
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry for today 6 Aug 2011
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional 24 April 2014
By Kat
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely collection 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
5.0 out of 5 stars The most empathetic poet 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming 17 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a delightful, easily accessible little collection of poems. It is a slim volume which could easily be read in one sitting, but one which I will wish to dip into repeatedly. The poems are frequently humorous, often made me smile or even snort with laughter, but also often carry quite a weighty emotional heft.

The selection starts with a set of Christmas poems, including a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas, a poem which will touch anyone who has collected Christmas ornaments with a partner,and apiece which will delight all who are pedants about Christmas hymns.

After this gentle start, the tone darkens as Cope describes her childhood, boarding school and sulphourous relationship with her mother. There is some really bitter stuff here, but also some moving recollections of friendships.

Through the rest of the Cope offers reactions to 9-11, thoughts on later life and death, holidays, service stations and a quite brilliant Haiku about white wine.

The collection ends with two commissions, one written for, and read with, a string quartet, the other written for BBC Radio. The former contains a lovely pair of poems giving the different views of two people trying to impress each other on a date at a classical concert. The latter gives a tribute to the Archers, to late night announcers and to, of all things, Radio 5's 6-0-6.

Family values is at heart very British, very middle class, and very middle aged, but that is no bad thing. Cope is a great observer and brings warmth, humour and humanity as the velvet cover for some pretty sharp commentary.

Definitely recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The latest..published 2011
Although her range used to be limited, Wendy Cope's work now shows a 'nail on the head' maturity which allows her work to be touching in important ways as well as her acclaimed... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Seriousreader
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
As I say of 'If I Don't Know', this is a lady who knows how to write poems that are accessible, entertaining and have something to say. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Leseratte
4.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively simple
A great anthology by Wendy Cope showing her skill as a poet. Her deceptively simple poems are beautifully structured showing her wry sense of humour. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Isabel Lunn
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull and childish
This book reads like a collection of poetry by a primary school class; remember to follow Poetry Writing 101 - repeat a line or two, be make sure that every pair ends in rhyme, if... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Chief Wansum Tail
5.0 out of 5 stars There is a poem for everyone
The poems are short,pithy and amusing. Emotions to share and dispell all cares. A sure way to lighten your day.
Published 18 months ago by Mrs R.D.Stollard
5.0 out of 5 stars Remebering what poetry is for
Wendy Cope's poems remind us of what poetry really is and can be. She shows us how poetry can still matter in our complication, alienated lives.
Published 19 months ago by Dh Maitreyabandhu
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep saying this and don't forget / The party isn't over yet.
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. Read more
Published on 15 April 2012 by Ryan Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely book to dip into.
The poems in this book come under a few categories, childhood including a school, concert-goers, and the BBC. Read more
Published on 31 Dec 2011 by Tess
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