Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin

in Coventry, West Midlands, England, The United Kingdom
August 09, 1922

December 02, 1985


George Orwell; Cyril Connolly; George Bernard Shaw

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 third collection The Less Deceived in 1955. The Whitsun Weddings and High Windows followed in 1964 and 1974. In 2003 Larkin was chosen as "the nation's best-loved poet" in a survey by the Poetry Book Society, and in 2008 The Times named Larkin as the greatest post-war writer.

Larkin was born in city of Coventry, West Midlands, England, the only son and

Average rating: 4.08 · 23,388 ratings · 873 reviews · 39 distinct works · Similar authors
Collected Poems

4.21 avg rating — 6,269 ratings — published 1988 — 10 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The Whitsun Weddings

4.02 avg rating — 1,047 ratings — published 1964 — 9 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
High Windows

4.18 avg rating — 941 ratings — published 1974 — 15 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
A Girl in Winter

3.82 avg rating — 434 ratings — published 1947 — 14 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating

3.58 avg rating — 416 ratings — published 1946 — 12 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The Less Deceived

4.17 avg rating — 197 ratings — published 1958 — 4 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The Complete Poems

4.49 avg rating — 220 ratings — published 2012 — 5 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The North Ship

3.64 avg rating — 134 ratings — published 1966 — 5 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Philip Larkin: Letters to M...

4.10 avg rating — 104 ratings — published 2010 — 3 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Philip Larkin: Poems select...

4.16 avg rating — 110 ratings — published 2011 — 3 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
More books by Philip Larkin…
44 wiersze
Biblioteczka poetów języka angielskiego (1 book)
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 2 ratings

“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

“I have no enemies. But my friends don't like me.”
Philip Larkin


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 climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.”
Philip Larkin, Collected Poems

Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
UK Book Club: Zoe's List 20 138 Jan 06, 2011 05:33AM  
Classics for Begi...: Poetry 346 245 Jul 13, 2014 12:35AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Philip Larkin Collected Poems 5 13 Jul 21, 2014 06:21PM  
The Book Club: Books and Authors in the Media 71 70 Jan 14, 2015 01:36PM  
The Seasonal Read...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Winter 2014 Completed Tasks: Do Not Delete Posts 4233 688 Mar 11, 2015 04:43AM  
CBC Books: 20 March 15 - Spring, by Richard Kenney 14 13 Mar 21, 2015 07:08PM  
Around the World ...: England 49 771 May 17, 2015 08:28PM  
Boxall's 1001 Bo...: What influence did Mrs Thatcher have on some list authors? 2 39 Jul 17, 2015 02:58PM