Cultural Life: Wendy Cope, Poet

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The Independent Culture


In recent months, I've read two outstanding books: Evening in the Palace of Reason by James Gaines (about J S Bach and Frederick the Great); and John Armstrong's Love, Life, Goethe, which is both a biography and superior self-help book. I also read Madame Bovary (never got round to it before), and have just begun A Hidden Life, by my friend Adèle Geras. And I've been dipping into the new Selected Poems by Michael Hofmann, one of my favourite living poets.


At home and in the car, I listen mostly to Bach – my most recent acquisition is The Art of Fugue. I live in Winchester, where the main form of entertainment is church music, which suits me fine. The cathedral has a first-rate choir, and so does Winchester College chapel. The college also puts on lots of concerts.


Earlier in the year, I had regular dates with Mad Men and Desperate Housewives, always watching the latter with a friend and a glass of wine. I try to catch University Challenge, and my partner, Lachlan, is keen on Doctor Who, so we watch that together.


I don't usually go to the cinema much, but in the last month or so I've seen Sex and the City, which I loved, and Mamma Mia!, which I loved even more.


I rarely go to the theatre, apart from Winchester College productions (Lachlan is on the staff). The most recent was Twelfth Night and it was terrific. I like listening to Mozart's operas but have little desire to watch the ludicrous plots unfold on stage.

Visual arts

The last show I went to was of work by a very promising young artist called Jon McNaught. I bought one of his prints.

Wendy Cope's 'Two Cures for Love: selected poems 1979-2006' is out now, published by Faber & Faber, priced £12.99