Christmas Poems by Wendy Cope (Review)

Christmas Poems by Wendy Cope


For more than thirty years Wendy Cope has been one of the nation’s most popular and respected poets. Christmas Poems collects together her best festive poems, including anthology favourites such as ‘The Christmas Life’, together with new and previously unpublished work. Cope celebrates the joyful aspects of the season but doesn’t overlook the problems and sadness it can bring. With lively illustrations to accompany the words, it is a book to enjoy this Christmas and in years to come.


I bought this book in October when I was in Bath and I was really excited because I thought this little book would be a perfect festive read in December. At only 48 pages long this did not take me long to read and was a perfect diversion from the Christmas prep. 

As you probably know by now if you have been following me for any length of time I was never a huge poetry fan but since I have been blogging I have been making an effort to get into poetry. Since doing this I have found quite a few favourite poets that I enjoy to read and I am always looking for new poets to read. Wendy Cope is one of these new poets for me. 

Certain poems within this book I could really relate to. Cope was a primary school teacher for 15 years and a piano player and her reflections on playing for children’s services I can relate to as I teach piano and woodwind in a primary school and know all about the Christmas services and the many renditions of Little Donkey. 

I will be honest there were only a few poems that I really enjoyed in this book because I found quite a few of the poems rather depressing and not very helpful for getting into the festive spirit. However, I like Cope’s style as a poet and will definitely be checking out more of her poems. 

The illustrations in this book are by Michael Kirkham and were excellent and really added to the poems. Without the illustrations the book would have been a lot shorter. 

Overall, I found this little book of poems an accomplished read but not really my cup of tea. It sadly wasn’t the festive read I was looking for but I appreciate the skill of Wendy Cope. I give this book 3 out of 5 Dragons. 


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About the poet

Wendy Cope was educated at Farringtons School, Chislehurst, London and then, after finishing university at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, she worked for 15 years as a primary school teacher in London.

In 1981, she became Arts and Reviews editor for the Inner London Education Authority magazine, ‘Contact’. Five years later she became a freelance writer and was a television critic for ‘The Spectator magazine’ until 1990.

Her first published work ‘Across the City’ was in a limited edition, published by the Priapus Press in 1980 and her first commercial book of poetry was ‘Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis’ in 1986. Since then she has published two further books of poetry and has edited various anthologies of comic verse.

In 1987 she received a Cholmondeley Award for poetry and in 1995 the American Academy of Arts and Letters Michael Braude Award for light verse. In 2007 she was one of the judges for the Man Booker Prize.

In 1998 she was the BBC Radio 4 listeners’ choice to succeed Ted Hughes as Poet Laureate and when Andrew Motion’s term of office ended in 2009 she was once again considered as a replacement.

She was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s 2010 Birthday Honours List.



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