Afternoon Tea With Wendy Cope

29 Apr 2017 Comedy & Spoken Word 3pm (doors open 2.15pm)
Tickets: £12.50 to include tea and a cake
Members: £11.50 to include tea and a cake


A completely fresh and entertaining setting for a poetry reading from the quiet phenomenon who has proved quality can be popular! 

 Wendy reads a hilariously dissatisfied and ironic set either side of the tea….with a question and answer session to round off the event, plus an ever popular after-show book signing.

In an ambience akin to a cosy fireside reading Wendy charms and amuses her audience with her poetry. At times sharp and punchy, at times soft and contemplative. 

"Wendy Cope’s poetry is perhaps best known for its humour and wit.

The joke has often been centred on men from the point of view of the single heterosexual woman, and this is most famously used in ‘Bloody Men’ (of Serious Concerns,1992):

'Bloody men are like bloody buses – You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.'

As well as the lighter and more well-known examples, her work is also self-reflective in that it shows a concern for the writing process and for writing poetry in particular. This comes through in her parodies of the work of various poets. 

In terms of style and content, her work has remained largely accessible to the reading public and this is undoubtedly why it has been so relatively popular when compared with that of many other contemporary poets.

Her first collection, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (1986), includes parodies of work by poets such as T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ (as in ‘Waste Land Limericks’):

'In April one seldom feels cheerful;
Dry stones, sun and dust make me fearful'

If one compares this with the first four lines of ‘The Waste Land’, it is possible to see the divergences and why the parody is effective:

'April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing 
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.'"

(Dr Julie Ellam, 2009, British Council website)

The Poetry Archive about Wendy Cope:

Wendy Cope (b. 1945) is a poet whose witty lyrics and pitch-perfect parodies have gained her a readership far beyond most of her peers. Born in Erith, Kent, she read History at St. Hilda's College, Oxford. She then taught in primary schools in London before becoming a freelance writer in 1986. Her debut collection, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, struck a chord with its lampooning of literary pretensions and its wry look at contemporary relationships, and has sold over 180,000 copies to date. Her subsequent collections - Serious Concerns in 1992 and If I Don't Know in 2001 (shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award) - both confirmed her reputation as a classic English humorist whilst also allowing room for poems of a more meditative tone. She has edited several poetry anthologies, including Heaven on Earth: 101 happy poems, and her poems for children are widely anthologised. She was made an O.B.E. in the Queen's Birthday honours 2010. She currently lives in Winchester.

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Ticket price includes a hot drink and a piece of cake 


Booking Details

Tickets: £12.50 to include tea and a cake 
Members: £11.50 to include tea and a cake 

Performance time:
3pm (doors open 2.15pm) 

Running time:
105 minutes