Wendy Cope OBE

Wendy Cope OBE. Photo by Adrian Harvey.

Wendy Cope OBE. Photo by Adrian Harvey.

Wendy Cope is an award-winning English poet renowned for her wit and humour. After reading History at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, she then spent many years teaching primary school in London, before making the switch to full time freelance writer in 1986. She has been a tutor on a number of Arvon courses and still occasionally runs workshops in academic settings and elsewhere.

Her first collection, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, introduced the world to her clear imagery and biting wit and became a bestseller. She has since published several more collections, which have all been enthusiastically received both by critics and the public. She has also edited a number of poetry anthologies including Is That the New Moon (1989) and The Funny Side: 101 Humorous Poems (1998). Drawing on her experience as a primary school teacher, she has also written a narrative poem, The River Girl (1991) and two children’s books,   Twiddling Your Thumbs (1988) and Going for a Drive (2010).

In 1987 she won a Cholmondeley Award for poetry and in 1995 she was awarded the Michael Braude Award for Light Verse. In 1998, BBC Radio 4 listeners voted her their choice to succeed Ted Hughes at Poet Laureate. If I Don’t Know (2001) was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award and in 2010 she was made an O.B.E. in the Queen’s Birthday honours. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Wendy Cope is part of the 2013 MFA Residency Series. She is also a writer in residence at Kingston Writing School. She regularly works with students and does readings. On 26 February 2013 she taught the MFA Writing and Teaching workshop talking about her experiences, strategies and motivations as a creative writing teacher and also modelling a poetry workshop.

Selected Bibliography

Poetry Collections:

Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (1986)

Serious Concerns (1992)

If I Don’t Know (2001)

Family Values (2011)

Narrative Poem

The River Girl (1991)

Edited Anthologies

Is That the New Moon (1989)

The Orchard Book of Funny Poems (1993)

The Funny Side: 101 Humorous Poems (1998)

The Faber Book of Bedtime Stories (1999)

Heaven on Earth: 101 Happy Poems (2001)

 

Books for Children

Twiddling Your Thumbs (1988)

Going for a Drive (2010)

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As with all our visiting writers, Wendy has kindly supplied a recommended reading list.

Some books I’ve enjoyed recently:

 

Poetry

Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds

The Overhaul by Kathleen Jamie

Mountain Home: the Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China, translated by David Hinton

Fiction

The Glass Room by Simon Mawer

Skios by Michael Frayn

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Keras by Simon Rae (a book for children)

Non-fiction

Gig by Simon Armitage

What is the MFA Residency Series?

As we begin our new semester there are some exciting events coming up for second year MFA students and the wider community through the MFA Residency Series. But what is this series and how can you get involved?

The MFA Residency Series is a knowledge and teaching exchange set up by our course leader, Dr. Scott Bradfield, to enhance the writing and teaching education for MFAs. As many of you will already know, the MFA in Creative Writing is considered a “terminal degree”, which means that it is a qualification for teaching at the university level. In the second semester of course’s the second year students take a module called “Teaching and Writing Workshop.” In this class we have a weekly workshop, run by a variety of instructors who also speak about their teaching experience and strategies. It is designed to give students hands-on experience with different workshopping styles and methods that they can then implement in their own teaching.

The MFA Residents are select, outstanding writers who also have extensive teaching experience. They hail from various countries and often fly in specifically to be a part of this series. In addition to running a workshop, these writers and teachers also do private tutorials with all second year MFA students.

But what does this mean for you if you’re not a second year MFA? Good news: they also do readings that are open to the public. We encourage everyone to come meet these leading writers and hear them read from their work.

In the past, Dr. Bradfield has brought in writers including Fiona Sampson, former editor of Poetry Review, J. Robert Lennon, head of the MFA at Cornell University, and Brian Evenson, head of Brown University’s MFA program. And this year’s list is no less impressive with the following authors participating:

* Lamar Herrin, Professor Emeritus at Cornell University’s MFA program and author of novels, short stories, poetry and, most recently, a memoir entitled Romancing Spain.

* Wendy Cope OBE, Writer in Residence at Kingston University and poet renowned for her wit. Recent collections include Family Values and Two Cures for Love.

* Paul Maliszewski, editor and author of criticism, short stories, essays and poetry including the short story collection, Prayer and Parable, and the essay collection, Fakers: Hoaxers, Con Artists, Counterfeiters, and Other Great Pretenders. It is our great pleasure to welcome Paul back for the second time as an MFA Resident.

* Christopher Priest, prolific author of everything from children’s non-fiction to novels and biographies. The film adaptation of his 1995 novel, The Prestige, was directed by Christopher Nolan and received two Academy Award nominations.

The dates for the public readings are as follows:

Tuesday, 12 February 2013 – Lamar Herrin at 7:30pm at Penrhyn Road Campus in John Galsworthy room 3003

Tuesday, 16 April 2013 – Paul Maliszewski at 7:30pm

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 – Christopher Priest at 7:30pm

Locations along with author information will be posted on this site before each reading. We hope to have the profile of Lamar Herrin up very shortly so check back with us or follow this blog for updates via email (see box in at the top of the column on the right-hand-side of this page). Please come to the readings and enjoy the work of these fine writers from both sides of the Atlantic.

Rhythm and Muse 2012

The annual poetry festival presented by Rhythm & Muse and Kingston Writing School begins this week. Go on, you know you want to revel in some poetry. Sign up for workshops, sign up for a slam spot; develop and share some of your poetic tendencies.

Schedule of events 20-29 November 2012

Tuesday, 20 November:

10:30 – 11:30am – A. F. Harrold – Schools event at the Rose Theatre in association with Kingston Libraries and RBK

Thursday, 22 November:

3-5pm – Judith Watts – Workshop at the new-look Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University (Places FREE, but please book in advance via Alison Hill – alison-hill@blueyonder.co.uk)

Saturday, 24 November:

11am-1pm – Martin Daws – Poetry in Performance – interactive workshop led by performance poet, Martin Daws. Kingston university, Penrhyn Road, Room JG0001 (Places FREE, but please book in advance via Laura Bottomley – L.Bottomley@kingston.ac.uk)

Wednesday, 28 November:

6-8pm – Wendy Cope and Laurence Owen – Lyrical Laughter at Kingston University. Penrhyn Road, Room JG0003 (FREE)

Thursday, 29 November:

8:30pm onwards – LiTTLe MACHiNe and Slam at the Ram, hosted by Nick Poole – Ram Jam Club, Kingston. £6/£5 on the door. Email Alison Hill for more details or to sign up for a slam spot – alison-hill@blueyonder.co.uk

www.rhythmandmuse.org

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