3 1 2 stars High Windows is always my favorite poem, it s even amazing if you read it out loud What a king of words, a beautiful cynic Fantastic. This Entirely New Edition Brings Together All Of Philip Larkin S Poems In Addition To Those In Collected Poems , And In The Early Poems And Juvenilia , Some Unpublished Pieces From Larkin S Typescripts And Workbooks Are Included, As Well As Verse By Turns Scurrilous, Satirical, Affectionate, And Sentimental Tucked Away In His Letters The Manuscript And Printed Sources Have Been Scrutinized Afresh Detailed Accounts Than Hitherto Available Of The Sources Of The Text And Of Dates Of Composition Are Provided And Previous Accounts Of Composition Dates Have Been Corrected Variant Wordings From Larkin S Typescripts And The Early Printings Are RecordedFor The First Time, The Poems Are Given A Comprehensive Commentary This Draws Critically Upon, And Substantially Extends, The Accumulated Scholarship On Larkin, And Covers Closely Relevant Historical Contexts, Persons And Places, Allusions And Echoes, And Linguistic Usage Due Prominence Is Given To The Poet S Comments On His Poems, Which Often Outline The Circumstances That Gave Rise To A Poem, Or State What He Was Trying To Achieve Larkin Played Down His Literariness, But His Poetry Enrichingly Alludes To And Echoes The Writings Of Many Others Archie Burnett S Commentary Establishes Him As A Complex And Literary Poet Than Many Readers Have Suspected I ve known Larkin s work since I was at school fifty years ago For me he s one of the triumvirate, along with Eliot and Auden the great English language poets of the twentieth century. If you love Larkin s poetry this is an invaluable collection It includes all of his poetry, that published and that not published but contained in workbooks What s most valuable is the commentary on each poem They note not only the judgments and ideas of critics but also what Larkin himself wrote to friends and other writers about what he tried to do The editor, Archie Burnett, also points out instances when Larkin, through written comment to others or notes scrawled across the pages of a workbook, expressed his own sense of a poem s worth The great and the minor are here without any particular arrangement On p115 the great poem Aubade is preceded by an untitled limerick The published work is followed by the uneven and unpublished poems Larkin kept in his workbooks The comments on these poems are shorter and less helpful because they re just coming to light Larkin freely expresses his own disappointment with many of them And the reader can often see why they were left in the workbooks rather than published. Side by side, their faces blurred, The earl and countess lie in stone, Their proper habits vaguely shown As jointed armour, stiffened pleat, And that faint hint of the absurd The little dogs under their feet.Such plainness of the pre baroque Hardly involves the eye, untilIt meets his left hand gauntlet, still Clasped empty in the other and One sees, with a sharp tender shock, His hand withdrawn, holding her hand.They would not think to lie so long Such faithfulness in effigyWas just a detail friends would see A sculptor s sweet commissioned grace Thrown off in helping to prolong The Latin names around the base.They would not guess how early inTheir supine stationary voyageThe air would change to soundless damage, Turn the old tenantry away How soon succeeding eyes beginTo look, not read Rigidly theyPersisted, linked, through lengths and breadths Of time Snow fell, undated LightEach summer thronged the glass A bright Litter of birdcalls strewed the sameBone riddled ground And up the paths The endless altered people came,Washing at their identity Now, helpless in the hollow of An unarmorial age, a troughOf smoke in slow suspended skeins Above their scrap of history, Only an attitude remains Time has transfigured them into Untruth The stone fidelityThey hardly meant has come to be Their final blazon, and to prove Our almost instinct almost true What will survive of us is love. Grabbed this book off the floor of my husband workspace, the new releases section near the pool table, which is ususally off limits to wives, children and pets My first thought What is Stephen Tobolowsky doing on the cover of a poetry collection You know, the popular character actor Played the obnoxious insurance salesmen Ned the Head in Groundhog Day with Bill Murray Poetry What IMAGINE my surprise to discover Philip Larkin, and read This be the verse and other take no prisoners poetry by this naughty Brit Alarming Crude Awful But wait, I m still reading Still reading Heaven help me I read every single poem, some than twice Philip Larkin, a man of few words, and very few published poems But I kept thinking of that Shakespeare quote, Each Word Stabs I love it. Good to read some poetry when one feels a bit overwhelmed. Philip Larkin, the saddest heart in the post war supermarket from what we know him best by But what is striking is the large amount of unpublished material from his early years which strikes another tone, as well as the light verse taken from his letters The image of the dour faced and sparely written bureaucrat poet for whom there was no longer a myth kitty to draw from juxtaposes itself with the prolific student bubbling over with influences and symbols, as well as the sarcastic penner of bawdy limericks to his friends.Neither of the other two modes is as genius as the one we know him for The first was full of juvenile aspirations and ham fisted themes and influences The latter, had neither the nuance or dimensionality of superb light verse Still, for better or for worse, every single lyrical verse penned by Larkin is here, with back end commentary and variations from drafting Likely, given his own highly reserved manner and cultivated distance from his audience, Larkin himself would not be happy with this edition His own letters and notes written on pages clearly denote that he thought the bulk of his early work before he found his particular voice and niche in his 30s was bad, and to be honest, his estimation is correct It s often derivative and occluded Other times, the frustrations of the writing process break out in the poetry itself One unfinished and unpublished work just breaks into a long CRAPCRAPCRAPCRAP and stops mid line The mature Larkin was definitely one who spent much time crafting and polishing what he wrote In some respects, he had to, as the prolific nature of his writing output in his youth dwindled with age, to the point that he did not write much at all in the final decade of his life though my personal favorite Aubade was written during this time In some ways, if you already have a collection of Larkin s verse, you really don t need to get this one You re mostly getting things he didn t publish for a very good reason If you re looking to see his development as a poet, his judgement of his own works, as well as his writing process and influences, then this book should be on the list Just be prepared to wade through a lot of juvenalia and poetic blocs to get there Certainly, the amount of work and struggle it took to get where he got is something heartening to another poet who feels like all they re producing is crap as well. Larkin was undeniably brilliant at his best and even at his less than stellar he s still usually at least somewhat amusing or has a great line here or there For the lay reader, the Complete Poems is probably a bit much, at least it was for me A third of these poems come from the collections Another ten percent or so were published in his lifetime, but even among those much of the work is juvenelia, published in high school or college literary magazines Wholly too much of what s here is youthful Larkin finding his feet, then towards the end you get a bunch of scraps and extras There are often gems hiding in a couplet pulled from a letter or even a youthful stab at something, but I would have strongly preferred a Selected edition, where the wheat was separated from the chaff for me I did appreciate the copious and fastidious notes compiled by editor Archie Burnett, which do put the poems in context and deepen the reading experience Another aspect of reading a metric ton of Larkin is the fact that the man himself was than a bit of an asshole That s easier to ignore reading the published work, but as you get into the ephemera, especially late in life, his political and racial attitudes start shining through and are unpleasant and impossible to ignore That said, when he s good he s quite good He was also, of course, quite funny Why are American conservatives almost never funny It s like you have to give up your sense of humor when you register as a Republican Tories don t seem to have this problem, or at least they didn t used to back in Larkin s day.
Philip Arthur Larkin, CH, CBE, FRSL, was an English poet, novelist and jazz critic He spent his working life as a university librarian and was offered the Poet Laureateship following the death of John Betjeman, but declined the post Larkin is commonly regarded as one of the greatest English poets of the latter half of the twentieth century He first came to prominence with the release of his thi
- 768 pages
- The Complete Poems
- Philip Larkin
- 12 April 2017 Philip Larkin