Poet Wendy Cope joins BBC Music Magazine from her home in Cambridgeshire to discuss how her enduring relationship with classical music has changed throughout the course of her life, with various careers as a primary school teacher, journalist and now poet.


Introduced to the piano at the age of five, music has been a constant in Wendy’s life, with many of her poems having now been set by the UK’s leading composers. She tells us all about this fascinating process, and how it feels to hear your words set to music.

Wendy spent the first 15 years of her career as a primary school teacher, before later becoming a journalist and television critic for The Spectator. Her first collection of poetry, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, was published in 1986. Since then, she’s released several more collections for both adults and children, often exploring the mundane aspects of British life through an extremely witty lens. Her most recent collection, Anecdotal Evidence, was published by Faber and Faber in 2018, which we discuss a little in this conversation.

Buy Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis from the following outlets:

Buy Anecdotal Evience from the following outlets:

Recordings featured:

Mozart: Serenade No. 13 ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’: I. Allegretto (Vienna Philharmonic/Herbert von Karajan Warner Classics 4768762)

Bach: ‘Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme’ Cantata BWV 140 (English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir/John Eliot Gardiner Deutsche Grammophon 4807512)

Bach: Concerto for Two Violins and Strings in D minor (2nd movement): Isabelle Faust, Bernhard Forck (violins), Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin Harmonia Mundi HMM90233536)

Schubert: Im Frühling (Ian Bostridge (tenor), Julius Drake (piano) Warner Classics 5563472)

Peter Maxwell Davies: Farewell to Stromness (Peter Maxwell Davies (piano) Naxos 950161)

Tibetan Singing Bowls and Ocean Waves Sounds for Relaxation

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