An interview with Wendy Cope



“What do you see as the role of humour in poetry?

I don’t set out to write humorous poems it’s just sometimes my sense of humour gets into them – well quite often. As a reader I suppose I laugh when I recognise something – I think laughter often is when you recognise something is true but you’d never actually allowed yourself to think that or you’d never heard it put quite so well. I think it’s possible for a poem to be funny and serious at the same time and I get very annoyed with the assumption that if a poem is funny then it can’t be saying anything important and deeply felt. Some of my poems are just playful and could accurately be described as ‘light verse’ but I think in a lot of my poems, although there’s humour in them, they are saying something that matters and something that’s deeply felt and I don’t think…I think those things can co-exist in the same poem.”