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If I Don't Know - Wendy Cope

Paperback Published: 4th June 2001
ISBN: 9780571209552
Number Of Pages: 96

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Wendy Cope's most recent collection, her first since Serious Concerns in 1992, extends her concern with the comedy of the examined life ('the way we have been, the way we sometimes are'), and imagines those adjustments to the ordinary which would fulfil our futures, or allow us to realize the golden age of five minutes ago, or weigh the 'out there' of the present moment, where what is in sight is also out of reach. These are poems of well-tempered yearning, conditional idylls which sing in praise of lying fallow, the creativity of daydream, the yeast of boredom, the truths of intermediacy. Wendy Cope's formal tact is alertly present - in triolets, rondeaux, villanelles, squibs, epigrams - small forms whose power to disarm goes hand in hand with her characteristically tart ripostes to the way things (usually) are. This collection extends the variousness of her occasions.

This is another collection of verse by award-winning poet Wendy Cope. Part one contains a selection of poems which, despite the varying subject matter, have a number of common themes. Many bring to life everyday experiences with a freshness of vision which immediately engages the reader, be it of the aftermath of Christmas, 'a muddle of turkey bones and muted quarrelling', or the vivid imagery with which Cope describes a 'Colour Chart of House Paints'. Indeed, she can elevate such mundane experiences to the level of philosophical questions as she asks 'Why did I buy this Marks and Spencer's T-shirt/And, having done so, fail to take it back?' or describes the Sorrow of Socks who 'are loners - They won't live in pairs'. Other poems have a more lyrical quality as the poet revels in the simple pleasures of nature or the garden. Only occasionally does a more disturbing image creep in, such as a headless squirrel and a dead crow lying on the track, allowing a moment of gentle self-irony as she reflects on 'My quiet, lovely nature poem - That was not to be'. Indeed, self-mockery runs throughout the poems as she describes herself as 'The person with the Notebook' or tells us, 'A happier cabbage you never did see'. Part two comprises a longer narrative verse which movingly tells of the plight of Paul and his experiences of life at school and home with his stifling, 'decent, law-abiding' parents. The poem is written with all the benefit of Cope's experience as a primary school teacher but her insight is enhanced and her message reinforced by the quality of her writing. Cope's poetry is light, but not superficial. She tells us, 'Real poetry is no fun at all', but this is real poetry and it is fun. (Kirkus UK)

By the Round Pondp. 3
The Christmas Lifep. 4
30th Decemberp. 5
If I Don't Knowp. 6
Haiku: Looking Out of the Back Bedroom Window without my Glassesp. 7
Idyllp. 8
Being Boringp. 9
Fireworks Poemsp. 10
Timekeepingp. 11
Songp. 12
On a Trainp. 14
Presentp. 15
Postcardsp. 16
Sonnet of '68p. 17
A Word before Sleepp. 18
After Praguep. 19
The Sitterp. 20
Les Vacancesp. 21
Dead Sheep Poemp. 22
The Lyric Poetp. 23
A Mysteryp. 24
Reading Berryman's Dream Songs at the Writers' Retreatp. 25
The Squirrel and the Crowp. 26
John Clarep. 27
An Endingp. 30
Poem from a Colour Chart of House Paintsp. 31
Greek Island Trioletsp. 33
The Ted Williams Villanellep. 35
He Tells Herp. 36
What I Thinkp. 37
The Sorrow of Socksp. 38
The Stickleback Songp. 39
Stressp. 41
A Hampshire Disasterp. 42
A Poem on the Theme of Humourp. 43
A Readingp. 45
How to Deal with the Pressp. 46
Traditional Prize County Pigsp. 47
Elegy for the Northern Weyp. 51
Tulipsp. 52
The Teacher's Talep. 55
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780571209552
ISBN-10: 0571209556
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 96
Published: 4th June 2001
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9  x 0.8
Weight (kg): 0.13
Edition Number: 1