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From a motorway service area to her ambivalent relationship with religion, Wendy Cope covers a wide range of experience in her new collection. Her mordant humour and formal ingenuity are in evidence, even as she remembers the wounds of a damaging childhood; and in poems about love and the inevitable problems of ageing she achieves an intriguing blend of sadness and joy. Two very different sets of commissioned poems round off a remarkable volume, whose opening poem sounds clearly the profound note of compassion which underlies the whole.
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