14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A Modern Satirical Classic: An Absolute Must-Read,
By A Customer
This review is from: Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (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. However, these poems are in the minority here, and the vast majority of this book is an utter delight. "A Policeman's Lot", a poem based on a Ted Hughes quotation about outwitting his own internal policeman, is one of my very favourites ("All leave was cancelled in the lambing season/ When bitter winter froze the drinking trough/ For our commander stated with good reason/ That that's the kind of thing that starts him off") as is the short yet magnificent "Emily Dickinson" ... no... no... I really won't quote any more. Just buy the book already, OK? As long as you have a love of the English language and a functioning sense of humour you won't be sorry...