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Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis [Paperback]

Wendy Cope
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

1 April 1986
Offers parodies of William Wordsworth, T.S. Eliot, and Emily Dickinson, and humorous sonnets, haiku, and love poems.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 April 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571137474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571137473
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 12.4 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 456,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Wendy Cope is very clever. She's good at taking much of what poetry holds dear and pricking its balloon. Her humour is an acquired taste and one short poem from "Strugnell's Haiku" sets the tone of this volume, first published in 1986, to great popular acclaim. "The leaves have fallen / And the snow has fallen and / Soon my hair also ..." a perfect haiku in form and perfectly ridiculous. This is her raison d'etre, to highlight the absurd in love, sex, courtship and in the sometimes stuffy, self-righteous literary poetry world. The title poem "Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis" was inspired by a dream apparently and the short four-line verse tells us no more. "Some kind of record seemed vital. / I knew it wouldn't be much of a poem / But I love the title." She tantalises but always stops short of deeper meaning. She mocks the rather pompous task of the Poet Laureate with her "All Purpose Poem for State Occasions": "The nation rejoices or mourns / As this happy or sombre day dawns." She slips into the bizarre persona of a policeman assigned to patrol the unconscious of Ted Hughes and parodies early reading books in an a-b a-b rhyme about an adulterous milkman: "Go Peter! Go Jane! Come milkman, come!" Her nursery rhymes in the style of Wordsworth ("Baa Baa Black Sheep") and T.S. Eliot ("Hickory Dickory Dock") are hilarious. It comes as quite a shock to come upon several serious poems, such as "On Finding an Old Photograph" in which she muses on her father before her birth and "all his sadness / and the things I didn't give him." The narrator of "Tich Miller" is bullied in school. "They usually chose me, the lesser dud / and she lolloped, unselected / to the back of the other team." There is little jauntiness in "At 3 a.m." in which the narrator imagines someone sleeping somewhere else with a woman next to him, crying quietly.

Most of Cope's poems confirm popular notions of what poetry should be--rhyming, accessible and direct. In "Rondeau Redouble", she's back laughing as though the hurt never happened at all. "There are so many kinds of awful men /One can't avoid them all. She often said / She'd never make the same mistake again: She always made a new mistake instead." --Cherry Smyth --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

One of six wonderful collections published in celebration of Faber's rich poetry heritage. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and poignant 1 Sep 2003
Format:Paperback
'Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis' is a joy to read. Wendy Cope writes witty and refreshing poems which are ideal to read aloud and share with others - they had my whole family in stitches. 'From June to December' is a funny and touching account of the different emotions which are experienced at the start of a relationship, and at its termination. Wendy Cope has a great talent for describing human emotions, particularly love, in a way that we can all identify with. However, her talent is not restricted to humorous poetry, and 'Tich Miller' effectively conveys what it is like to be the outcast who is picked last for teams during school sports, and although the narrator is able to get one over her athletic counterparts, "sneering at hockey players who couldn't spell", tragically Tich Miller dies before she can find any kind of niche for herself. One of the most enjoyable, touching poetry collections I have ever read.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This has been a firm favourite of mine ever since my father gasped in horror when I said I'd never read it & immediately went out to buy me a copy. There are so many fabulous satirical poems in this collection that I quite agree with my father that everyone with any interest at all in poetry should read it. Many of these poems are now old friends of mine, learned off by heart & a comfort to recall at odd moments. Some of the best poems are nursery rhymes re-written in the style of famous poets (TS Eliot: "In the first minute of the last hour/I saw the mouse ascend the ancient timepiece/ Claws whispering in the wind like dry hyacinths"). Indeed Cope is amazingly adroit at parodying Eliot (one of my favourite poets), and her set of five limericks summarising The Wasteland are a true joy ("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"). Oh dear, I really must try to curb my longing to quote and quote from this marvellous volume. But I hope you have realised by now that these poems are far too good not to share. I often find myself buying copies of this book for Wendy-Cope-deprived friends and I must admit that nowadays when I do so I usually buy them the miniature volume that Faber have put out at a lower price. But I personally own this edition, and I think it is worth the extra money to have a well-bound edition as this is a book that is much thumbed in my home.
If I have any reservations at all about recommending this book, it is that those poems here which are *not* satirical (such as "Tich Miller") are not very good.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Technique and truth collide in masterful parody 11 July 2001
By Andy Millward VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Wendy Cope always struck me as a woman fighting to keep her naive romantic and lyrical instincts about the scepticism that dogs our everyday disappointments with life. Her story of girlish summer romance turning to another weary disappointment by autumn does not prevent her wanting to try again.
That she chooses to do so with wickedly humour by parodying poetic forms and poets themselves (play the man, not the ball!) adds further emphasis to the moments of revelation unveiled with materful economy.
Mastery of technique is required to deliver first-rate parody, so it is to Cope's eternal credit that her skill is fulfilled with such a light touch. Cope's verse is charming but sly and frequently underestimated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winter Warmers 1 May 2009
Format:Paperback
If you're a fan of Wendy Cope's lighthearted and bathos-filled poetry then you'll definitely want to own this. If you're studying her at A-level or just interested, then this is a great starting point. Reasonably priced and attractively bound, this is a little gem
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever pastiches 12 Jun 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an amusing collection if you are fond of poetry and have some knowledge of the styles and poets that have inspired the contents. It would be a good stocking filler for a literary friend.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Wendy Cope - what a woman. The first time I read one of her poems I thought she had got into my head and read my thoughts - witty, funny, romantic, ironic. Does she hate men? I don't think so, but the way she writes about them you could be sat in a pub with her chatting about the latest disaster to have befallen your love-life. Wendy Cope is not only a very clever, witty woman, but she's clearly 'been there', and her observational style is very easy to deal with. Read it - you'll love it - especially if you are a fan of Bridget Jones - but be warned, the lady is highly addictive!
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