Philip Larkin

(9 August 1922 – 2 December 1985 / West Midlands / England)

Philip Larkin
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Born in 1922 in Coventry, England. He attended St. John's College, Oxford.

His first book of poetry, The North Ship, was published in 1945 and, though not particularly strong on its own, is notable insofar as certain passages foreshadow the unique sensibility and maturity that characterizes his later work. In 1946, Larkin discovered the poetry of Thomas Hardy and became a great admirer of his poetry, learning from Hardy how to make the commonplace and often dreary details of his life the basis for extremely tough, unsparing, and memorable poems. With his second volume of poetry, The Less Deceived (1955), Larkin became the preeminent poet of his generation, and a leading voice of ... more »

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  • Above all, though, children are linked to adults by the simple fact that they are in process of turning into them. For this they may be forgiven much. Children are bound to be inferior to adults, or t...
    Philip Larkin (1922-1986), British poet. (First published 1959). "The Savage Seventh," Required Writing (1984).
    48 person liked.
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Comments about Philip Larkin

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  • Peter Henderson(4/15/2018 11:30:00 AM)

    Larkin is like Fritos: you can read a book of his poems but nobody can read just one. Such a tonic!

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Paul Geiger Paul Geiger(11/29/2014 2:32:00 PM)

    New, impressive biography out by James Booth. Reviewed in WSJ,11/28/14. Maybe Dan Reynolds should read.

    19 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Dan Reynolds Dan Reynolds(9/23/2014 7:31:00 AM)

    You show some promise, but the archaic language lets you down. Try to read some good contemporary poets and expand your thoughts without the restriction of form.

    14 person liked.
    40 person did not like.
  • Robert Crick(6/8/2014 2:24:00 PM)

    This Be The Verse
    They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another's throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don't have any kids yourself.

    Philip Larkin

    This Be The Children’s Verse
    They suss you out, your girls and boys.
    You may not know it, but they do.
    They find out all your faults and foibles
    Because they concentrate on you.

    Their eyes and ears are sharp, perceptive,
    Slicing through your best disguise.
    And if you grit your teeth and take it,
    Their advice might make you wise.

    They cannot cure your old compulsions;
    They will not stroke away the aches
    That plague your heart and grieve your bones
    But they can learn from your mistakes.


    This Be The Grandparents’ Verse
    They tuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not want to, but they do.
    They give you games and stories they had
    And make up new ones, just for you.

    And they were tucked up in their turn
    By parent figures in the past,
    Who helped them, growing up, to learn
    That pain and misery end at last.

    Your kids can comfort smaller kids.
    And get some pleasure from this chore.
    The fretful baby’s drooping eyelids
    Move our hearts to ask for more.

    Robert Crick (2008)

    65 person liked.
    16 person did not like.
  • Cody Dickerson(4/30/2013 6:54:00 PM)

    How come Larkin's poem, This Be the Verse, is not in the poem list?

    55 person liked.
    24 person did not like.
  • Chris-ann Chikane(10/4/2012 5:15:00 AM)

    I request your permission to include extract from Poemhunter: Night Music by Philip Larkin We will use subsequent editions of the above-referenced book, in all media of expression now known or later developed, and in all foreign language translations and other derivative works published or prepared by Mystar Education & Business Solutions (Pty) Ltd or its licensees, for distribution throughout the world, and also in versions made by non-profit organisations for use by blind or physically handicapped persons.

    Appropriate credit will be given on the imprint page of the book. If specific credit is required, please provide this.

    If the permission request relates to an image, please send us a high-resolution JPEG, TIFF or PDF of the image, since this will ensure the quality of the image during printing.

    Please contact me
    Kind Regards
    Chris-Ann Chikane
    +27 11 018-5007
    chrism@starschools.co.za

    15 person liked.
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  • Chris-ann Chikane(10/4/2012 4:56:00 AM)

    I request your permission to include the attached extrac from poemhunter: Title: Night-Music by Philip Larkins.We want to use this and all subsequent editions of the above-referenced book, in all media of expression now known or later developed, and in all foreign language translations and other derivative works published or prepared by Mystar Education & Business Solutions (Pty) Ltd or its licensees, for distribution throughout the world, and also in versions made by non-profit organisations for use by blind or physically handicapped persons.

    Appropriate credit will be given on the imprint page of the book. If specific credit is required, please provide this.

    If the permission request relates to an image, please send us a high-resolution JPEG, TIFF or PDF of the image, since this will ensure the quality of the image during printing.

    Kind Regards
    Chris-Ann Chikane
    chrism@starschools.co.za

    13 person liked.
    38 person did not like.
  • Marcus Clements(6/22/2012 1:38:00 PM)

    I am probably making a very silly error....I am unable to select Phillip Larkin’s poems; can anyone help?

    28 person liked.
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  • Tai Chi Italy(7/16/2011 6:44:00 PM)

    Well it wasn't mum and dad who phucked this poets poems up! It was poemshuntered down and deleted.

    Philip! if you are up there, curse them for their bad taste.

    with a smile from

    Tai, from his neck of the midland woods

    24 person liked.
    15 person did not like.
  • Ron Price Ron Price(12/2/2009 11:38:00 PM)

    Poetry is like trying to remember a tune you've forgotten... A poem is written because the poet gets a sudden vision.....he juggles with sounds and associations which will best express the original vision. It is done quite intuitively, sometimes esoterically, sometimes with a very common touch. That is why the poet never thinks of the reader. The vision has something to do with sex. I don't know what it is; it's subtle, elusive, indefineable. It's not surprising, obviously two creative forces in alliance, closely connected.

    The result is a poetry of self-indulgence, the patter of the entertainer, fodder for future social historians from a poet who needs emotional isolation, from a poet who touches our hearts by showing his own, who reveals the paradoxes and enigmas of our lives by putting his own on the table, who provides, for me, perspectives on unity that emerge out of aloneness and solitude. -Ron Price with thanks to Andrew Swarbrick, Out of Reach: The Poetry of Philip Larkin, St. Martin 's Press, NY,1995, p.21.

    He pursues self-definition,
    the nature of identity,
    through separateness,
    exclusion and difference,
    negative self-definition,
    a voice of Englishness
    back in that ninth and
    early tenth stage of history1,
    after the loss of imperial power,
    diminished influence and, yes,
    a new value to English experience.

    A remorseful tone, secular
    but communal and telling,
    not untrue, not unkind and
    on the margins, exposed to
    the beyond, imprisoned in a
    personality, something hidden,
    something he has been given,
    reticence-English privacy ethic:
    where difference merges into
    absolute unity; where special
    uniqueness and loneliness are
    clarified as oneness, endless
    continuities and discontinuities.

    Ron Price

    1 1953-1963-ninth stage of history; 1963-1973-first ten years of the tenth stage of history. Larkin did not write 'many poems after 1973.'(ibid., p.164)
    --------

    16 person liked.
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Best Poem of Philip Larkin

Aubade

I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what's really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.
The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
- The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused - nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to ...

Read the full of Aubade

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