By Wendy Cope
Dear Serious Novel,
I am a terse assured lyric with impeccable rhythmic
flow, some apt and original metaphors, and a music that
is all my own. Some people say I am beautiful.
My vital statistics are eighteen lines, divided into three-line
stanzas, with an average of four words per line.
My first husband was a cheap romance; the second was
Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanac. Most of the men I meet
nowadays are autobiographies, but a substantial
minority are books about photography or trains.
I have always hoped for a relationship with an upmarket
work of fiction. Please write and tell me more about
Song of the First Snowdrop
Dear Song of the First Snowdrop,
Many thanks for your letter. You sound like just the kind
of poem I am hoping to find. I’ve always preferred short,
lyrical women to the kind who go on for page after page.
I am an important 150,000-word comment on the
dreams and dilemmas of twentieth-century Man. It took
six years to attain my present weight and stature but all
the twenty-seven publishers I have so far approached
have failed to understand me. I have my share of sex and
violence and a very joke in chapter nine, but to no
avail. I am sustained by the belief that I am ahead of my
Let’s meet as soon as possible. I am longing for you to
read me from cover to cover and get to know my every
Death of the Zeitgeist