Biography of Wendy Cope
Wendy Cope (born 21 July 1945) is a contemporary English poet. She read history at St Hilda's College, Oxford. She now lives in Ely with the poet Lachlan Mackinnon.
Cope was born in Erith in Kent (now in London), and educated at Farrington's School, Chislehurst in Kent (now also in London). Following her graduation from St Hilda's College, Cope spent fifteen years as a primary-school teacher. 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.
Four collections of her adult poetry have been published, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis in 1986, Serious Concerns in 1992, If I Don't Know in 2001, and Family Values in 2011. She has also edited several anthologies of comic verse and was a judge of the 2007 Man Booker Prize.
In 1998, she was voted the listeners' choice in a BBC Radio 4 poll to succeed Ted Hughes as Poet Laureate. When Andrew Motion's term as Poet Laureate came to an end in 2009, Cope was again widely considered a popular candidate, although she believes the post should be discontinued. Carol Ann Duffy succeeded Motion as Poet Laureate.
Cope was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours. In April 2011, the British Library purchased Cope's archive including manuscripts, school reports and 40,000 emails, the largest email archive they have bought to date. The papers also includes 67 poetry notebooks and unpublished poems. Cope commented "I wanted to find a good home for my archive. The timing was dictated because we had to move home, so we needed some money to buy a house, and the space. So this was the moment. I asked Andrew Motion what I should do, and he told me someone to approach at the British Library. I wasn't sure they would want it, but they did." When the collection is catalogued and organised, the archive will be available to researchers.
Wendy Cope Poems
Today we are obliged to be romantic And think of yet another valentine. We know the rules and we are both pedantic:
On the flyleaf of my confirmation present: 'To Wendy with love from Nanna. Psalm 98.'
Giving Up Smoking
There's not a Shakespeare sonnet Or a Beethoven quartet That's easier to like than you Or harder to forget.
My heart has made its mind up And I'm afraid it's you. Whatever you've got lined up, My heart has made its mind up
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange— The size of it made us all laugh. I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave— They got quarters and I had a half.
Some More Light Verse
You have to try. You see the shrink. You learn a lot. You read. You think. You struggle to improve your looks.
After The Lunch
On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes, The weather conditions bring tears to my eyes. I wipe them away with a black woolly glove And try not to notice I've fallen in love.
The New Regime
Yes, I agree. We'll pull ourselves together. We eat too much. We're always getting pissed. It's not a bad idea to find out whether We like each other sober. Let's resist.
I took her for my kind of person And it was something of a shock When my new friend revealed
On the flyleaf
of my confirmation present:
'To Wendy with love
from Nanna. Psalm 98.'
I looked it up, eventually -
I knew the first two verses
and skimmed the rest.