Wendy Cope, Tich Miller
Wendy Cope’s ‘Tich Miller’
Junior Certificate English
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Poet Wendy Cope was born in Erith, Kent in 1945 and read History at St Hilda's College, Oxford.
She trained as a teacher at Westminster College of Education, Oxford, and taught in primary schools in London (1967-81 and 1984-6). She became Arts and Reviews editor for Contact, the Inner London Education Authority magazine, and continued to teach part-time, before becoming a freelance writer in 1986. She was television critic for The Spectator magazine until 1990. She received a Cholmondeley Award in 1987 and was awarded the Michael Braude Award for Light Verse (American Academy of Arts and Letters) in 1995.
Her poetry collections include Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (1986), Serious Concerns (1992) and If I Don't Know (2001), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award. Two Cures for Love (2008) is a selection of previous poems with notes, together with new poems. Her latest collection is Family Values (2011). She was awarded an OBE in 2010.
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. It is also expressed in poems such as ‘The Poet’s Song’ (which is also included in Serious Concerns), which jokily refers to the tension between earning a living as a poet and remaining faithful to one’s ideals. In terms of style and content, her work has remained largely ...