British library pays £32,000 for poet Wendy Cope's emails

The British Library has paid £32,000 for the poet Wendy Cope’s email archive which includes 40,000 of her emails and spam since 2004.

It is the biggest email archive acquisition in the library’s history, and includes a spam collection.

According to Cope, her email archive contains many emails which “are not interesting at all” as well as written requests for fees. Some of the more private stuff is going to be held in a classified “closed” file until everyone is dead.

Cope said her emails tended to be “little and often” compared to her longer, less frequently written letters.

Rachel Foss, lead curator of modern literary manuscripts at the British Library said that it was the second major email acquisition made after Harold Pinter’s archive in 2007.

However it contains more material than Pinter’s, if… you do not… take into account…. the pauses.

The British Library is increasingly acquiring digital material and soon will get to the stage where “emails replace physical letters.”

It is not all Cope’s emails. There is also 15 storage boxes containing drafts of poems, jottings of ideas and “to do” lists. There are songs the poet wrote while working as a teacher.

Cope hit the headlines last week when she said had “lost respect” for the current Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, who recently revealed she was set to write a poem for the royal wedding.