Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis by Wendy Cope (4/5)

The back says: Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, Wendy Cope’s first book, was an immediate bestseller, delighting readers with its unconventional mixture of satire, candid love poetry, and parody. It includes examples of work by Jason Strugnell, the haplessly influenceable bard of Tulse Hill, as well as poems in Wendy Cope’s own voice, unmistakable even in such jeux d’esprit as ‘Waste Land Limericks’ and ‘My Lover’ (in a form borrowed from Christopher Smart’s Jubilate Deo).

I say: The only reason I bought this was because of the title – it was right after I’d finished Lucky Jim  and utterly obsessed with all things Kingsley Amis – and I am glad that I did; Wendy Cope is hilarious at times, touching at others, but always brilliant. The satire is sharp and unapologetic, the wit sort of hits you by surprise, and then there are a few poems with a final sentence that just makes everything stop, and you realise that however funny Cope may be, she’s also able to break your heart.

I’ve already read some of these poems a few times, and I have a strong suspicion that this is going to be one thumbed through many more times.

I’m going to type out the title poem simply because it’s so honest in its simplicity and cunningness:

Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis

It was a dream I had last week
And some kind of record seemed vital.
I knew it wouldn’t be much of a poem
But I love the title.

And so do I.

I’ll be on the lookout for more works by Cope.

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