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The Friday Poem: 'Loss' By Wendy Cope

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Poet Wendy Cope
Poet Wendy Cope

Wendy Cope has released four full volumes of adult poetry since 1986, the latest being Family Values in 2011.

Born in 1945, she read history at Oxford before spending 15 years as a primary school teacher. She then moved into journalism, spending five years between 1985 and 1990 as a TV critic for The Spectator.

In 1998, she was voted the listener's choice to succeed Ted Hughes as Poet Laureate in a BBC Radio 4 poll, and was again linked with the position in 2009. She was made an OBE in 2010 and in 2011 the British Library bought her archive.

Dr Rowan Williams is a fan of Wendy Cope, once describing her as "without doubt the wittiest of contemporary English poets" and it's largely her sharp sense of humour that has won her so many fans both in and outside of the poetry establishment.

Loss

The day he moved out was terrible -

That evening she went through hell.

His absence wasn't a problem

But the corkscrew had gone as well.

In so few words, Loss manages to create an entire scene and a personality. Right away you get a very full sense of the woman in the poem, her outlook on life and the way she uses humour - and alcohol - to handle life's difficulties, although you don't imagine her drinking alone.

It neither warrants nor desires much more analysis, except to wonder if there might be a double entendre intended in 'corkscrew' - but then maybe that's just us...

You can purchase a copy of Wendy Cope's Family Values from Amazon.