Performance & Poetry

copelargeWendy Cope‘s rueful wisdom connects her to the tradition of Betjeman and Larkin, but she brings a fresh female perspective to bear on social and literary foibles. She has said of her parodies that they were a way “of coming to terms with what was fashionable in poetry” and in their unerring accuracy and mastery of form she showed she could match any of her male contemporaries. Men in general are often the target of her barbed wit, none more so than Strugnell, the hapless and rather unpleasant male poet she invented for her first collection. Long before Bridget Jones sipped her first Chardonnay, Cope was casting a satirical eye over the minefield of contemporary sexual politics: “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.” Whilst Cope has little time for bleeding hearts, her poems can be poignant as well as humorous. A new mood of contentment infuses her most recent collection with poems of domestic celebration like ‘Being Boring’ or the unabashed tenderness of ‘On a Train’: “Long, radiant minutes,/your hand in my hand.”  Wendy Cope is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in Winchester, England. In 1998 she was the listeners’ choice in a BBC Radio 4 poll to succeed Ted Hughes as Poet Laureate. She was awarded an OBE in 2010.

519ngxqsIGL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“King Lear in Brooklyn” – An original approach to Shakespeare’s King Lear: Michael Pennington takes us on a fascinating journey through the play from the point of view of Lear himself and others. Although Michael also writes about his own New York acting experience in 2014, the major part of the book comprises chapters devoted to commentary on the play, its thoughts, motives and its themes in Lear s own words, and other chapters equally devoted to similar commentary from other characters in the play.

Michael Pennington is a Great actor, and a great writer about actors and acting. This book has all the wit, wisdom and passion that characterises his performances. Here is a page-turning artistic journey to an undiscovered country on the map, and in the mind. It brings with it all the touchingly complex humanity that the author finds in King Lear itself. It is written with honesty heart and humour by a master of his craft, and I thoroughly recommend it.” Kenneth Branagh

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