Faber & Faber £9.99 (100pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Two Cures for Love, By Wendy Cope
Friday 09 April 2010
Beyond her famous rueful wit and hard-won, lightly-worn insight, Wendy Cope in her poems offers a painless lesson in the intricate pleasures of form. "How to Deal with the Press", for example, is a villanelle.
The alternating end lines of each verse couple in a final quatrain: "When tempted to confide, resist./ Never trust a journalist." Well. This one tells you to seize this ample bouquet of selected poems and clasp them in delight.
Satire and pastiche punctuate the draining lows, and elevating highs, of love as her metrical snapshots of the human condition enlist haikus, triolets, sonnets, limericks and even the delirious Christopher Smart ode first devoted his cat Jeoffrey, now lavished on a lover who "at the age of 49... can make the noise of five different kinds of lorry changing gear on a hill". She's fun, and wise. Trust us (or not).
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