The Poetry of Philip Larkin
Comments by J. Zimmerman

Time Line.


Widely Anthologized

Some examples:

Larkin's editing

An excellent and varied collection. One welcome poem is by Elizabeth Wordsworth (1840-1932):

Good and Clever

If all the good people were clever,
  And all clever people were good,
The world would be nicer than ever
  We thought that it possibly could.
But somehow 'tis seldom or never
  The two hit it off as they should,
The good are so harsh to the clever,
  The clever, so rude to the good!

So friends, let it be our endeavour
  To make each by each understood;
For few can be good, like the clever,
  Or clever, so well as the good.

The poets are presented by birth order. In the great variety of poets and poems in this collection, while many are monoliths of the 20th-century (Hardy, Housman, Kipling, Yeats, Edward Thomas, Masefield, Lawrence, Sassoon, Eliot, Owen, Graves, Smith, Day-Lewis, Betjeman, MacNiece, Auden, Dylan Thomas), work of great interest is included from over a hundred lesser known poets such as: Wilfred Gibson (b. 1878), Frances Cornford (b. 1886), Jenny Joseph (b. 1932) with her "Warning", and Philip Hobsbaum (b.1932).

Analyses of Larkin's Work

2014: Rory Waterman's Belonging and Estrangement in the Poetry of Philip Larkin, R.S. Thomas and Charles Causley.

2010: edited by Anthony Thwaite: Letters to Monica: Phillip Larkin.
Larkin's correspondence with Monica Jones.

2004: DeSales Harrison's The end of the mind : the edge of the intelligible in Hardy, Stevens, Larkin, Plath, and Glèuck devotes Chapter Three (Philip Larkin: Rather Than Words) to commenting on Larkin's poetry.

Time Line

Born in Coventry, England, UK.

Went up to Oxford University.

Published poetry collection The North Ship.

Appointed assistant librarian at University College, Leicester (UK).
Published novel Jill.

Published novel A Girl in Winter.

Appointed sublibrarian at Queen's University, Belfast (UK).

Pamphlet of XX Poems.

Appointed librarian at University of Hull (UK).
Published poetry collection The Less Deceived.

Published poetry collection The Whitsun Weddings.

Began work on The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse.

Honorary Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford.
Published The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse.

Published poetry collection High Windows.

His great poem "Aubade" published in The Times Literary Supplement.


Anthony Thwaite edits and introduces: Philip Larkin: Collected Poems.

Posthumous publication of Larkin's letters.

BBC Radio Four broadcasts Philip and Sydney, a play by Alan Pollock. Set in 1937, it shows 15-year-old Philip's holiday with his Nazi-sympathizing father, Sydney, in Nazi Germany.

A stone commemorating Larkin is to be added to the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Links and Books.

[Thanks for visiting.]