Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “High Windows” as Want to Read:
High Windows
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

High Windows

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  1,117 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Larkin's final collection of poems shows, as does all his best work, his ability to adapt contemporary speech rhythms and everyday vocabulary to subtle metrical patterns and poetic forms. Many of the poems in the collection, which includes some of his best-known pieces ('The Old Fools', 'This Be the Verse', 'The Explosion', and the title poem) show the preoccupation with d ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published April 2nd 2015 by Faber & Faber (first published 1974)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about High Windows, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about High Windows

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Momina Masood
Mar 06, 2015 Momina Masood rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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.


Money:

Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me:
‘Why do you let me lie
...more
Teresa
Jun 25, 2015 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: g-poesia, n-inglaterra, e5
Há poetas que tratam as palavras de uma forma bonita, mas pouco entendo do que dizem; há outros, que julgo entender, mas que não me dizem nada; e há aqueles que sabem melhor do que eu o que eu quero dizer...
A primeira coisa que li de Philip Larkin foi um poema sobre a morte (ou sobre a vida, sei lá..."O bem não feito, o amor não dado, o gasto Tempo em nada"); é um poema impressionante que me libertou de qualquer ilusão de imortalidade. Infelizmente Aubade não está incluído em Janelas Altas mas e
...more
Zanna
Aug 16, 2013 Zanna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, politics, england
Before I developed my own politics I loved Larkin, for his way with words and ability to tug the heartstrings with maudlin reflections. He's got some great lines. But I can't read him now; he looks down on people too much, he's too conventional, too conservative, too narrowly, comfortably English. Of course, most of the time he isn't comfortable, he's reflecting on time and death, its spectre at the back of everything, but that's quite facile, he just drops it in, cleverly, at the right moment t ...more
Lorraine
Aug 03, 2007 Lorraine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

This must be one of the great stanzas in poetry.
Zöe Yu
Nov 14, 2014 Zöe Yu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
Philip Larkin's poems always make me think "Hey this is exactly what I felt". and then, silence.

Have you ever feel sad about the concrete jungle around us? This is the book for you.

Larkin has a sensitive observation. What appears in his eyes are always dipped in his thought.

Great booklet to start read Philip Larkin!
Deborah Schuff
Oct 18, 2013 Deborah Schuff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This slim book is filled with profound thoughts of aging and life in general but written in the profane words of ordinary humans. Philip Larkin is an amazing poet.
Jonathon Izzard
Jan 25, 2012 Jonathon Izzard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bleak but it always rings true. A firm favourite poet. Always.
Kirsten
It is thanks to my Uncle Jürgen that I read this collection, as he had said he could never 'get warm' with Larkin, and I'm not surprised. I'd heard he had a propensity to steal all the covers, and on top of this has of course been dead for the last 26 years. So quite a chilly fellow indeed. Ok woefully poor jokes aside, Larkin writes of bleak things unflinchingly. In 'The Old Fools' he looks at the dribbling retarded imbeciles our parents become and wonders whether people like this are aware of ...more
Rianna (RiannaBlok)
6/30 books read in 2015.

Never have I been more glad that I went back to a booksale to pick up a book I had seen the day before! This is absolutely one of my favourites now. Eventhough it was published in 1974, High Windows feels like it could have been published during my life time. This little book has made me excited to try other poetry collections.
Sarah
Apr 09, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always enjoyed Philip Larkin's poetry so I decided to do my dissertation on him, and now, approaching the end of it, I love him even more. I can't really explain why I like him so much, but I do and he is, for me, the greatest poet of the modern world.
Jane
Dec 10, 2016 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Truly bittersweet...how can anyone weave such great humour with the everyday sadness of the voice from lives lived at arm's length?
Stephen Curran
Apr 02, 2015 Stephen Curran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since a set of lines sent a chill through me like this from The Old Fools, on being dead:

"It's only oblivion, true: / We had it before, but then it was going to end, / And was all the time merging with a unique endeavour / To bring to bloom the million-petalled flower / Of being here. Next time you can't pretend / There'll be anything else."

Death is also confronted in The Building, which might make the reader ponder the meaning of hospital visits: "a struggle to transcend / Th
...more
Julie
Oct 28, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Larkin being a favourite poet, I often dip into the Collected Poems I’ve had since it was published in the eighties. The value of reading a smaller collection from cover to cover though is that you encounter poems that you had somehow missed or had read once or twice and then forgotten about. As well as some of the most well-known poems of the late twentieth century (High Windows, This Be the Verse, Annus Mirabilis and others), High Windows contains some real gems that I’d somehow passed over be ...more
Joy
May 16, 2016 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
High Windows is a collection of poetry by Philip Larkin, first published in 1974. It brings some of the poems Larkin is best known for, combining maudlin subjects with those of a more light-hearted and, indeed, humorous nature.

“Sexual intercourse began

In nineteen sixty-three

(Which was rather late for me)”

His writing has an ease to it that makes it a great introduction for those unfamiliar with poetry or with a fear of comprehending it. The sentences flow, with varying rhyming structures, and man
...more
Rob Blackmore
Philip Larkin's third and final anthology of his poems contains some fine and thoughtful verse.

As it's Larkin, this is never going to be a barrel of laughs, but there is humour (albeit dry and sarcastic). The poem 'The Trees' (nearly) verges on the sunny side, and his description of pouring a G&T in 'Sympathy in White Major' makes you want to reach for the Gordons and Schweppes.

When I drop four cubes of ice
Chimingly in a glass, and add
Three goes of gin, a lemon slice,
And let a ten-ounce to
...more
Bryan
Nov 10, 2013 Bryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2013
High Windows

When I see a couple of kids
And guess he's fucking her and she's
Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,
I know this is paradise

Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives—
Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
Like an outdated combine harvester,
And everyone young going down the long slide

To happiness, endlessly. I wonder if
Anyone looked at me, forty years back,
And thought, That'll be the life;
No God any more, or sweating in the dark

About hell and that, or having to hide
What you think of the
...more
Ben Doeh
Feb 21, 2016 Ben Doeh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These poems have an austere beauty. The poet was a nasty brute.

I wish I could say he's overrated, but these are superb poems. The bitterness and acidity that course under his contemplations of modern life acutely remind the reader of mortality, and our shallow realisation of what makes us want to live.
Ian Paul
Jun 25, 2015 Ian Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only knew the one with that 'word' in it until recently. I began teaching for a few hours per month in Hull and stayed at the Royal Station Hotel, featured in the book, so I thought I'd better read it. Good stuff. A curmudgeonly old bugger he may have been, but he could surely tinker with English like few others.
Dig deeper, the 'F' word is not all he does.
Moira McPartlin
I had been looking forward to reading Philip Larkin for a long time because I had heard he was a great poet, but I was disappointed in this collection. The poems are good, his lines are wonderful, but I didn't like them. He came across to me as a stuck-up grumpy and bitter old man and I couldn't get past that.
Kealan O'ver
Apr 11, 2016 Kealan O'ver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In fairness, it could have just been "This be the Verse" repeated 50 times and it still would have got 5 stars
Matthew Aldridge
Jun 15, 2013 Matthew Aldridge rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
It's good, but it's no Alien vs Predator.
Karen
Dec 30, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed how Larkin evokes the architecture of the Europe's lonely Northern daughter. The "close ribbed streets" and "wedge-shadowed gardens". I also felt that this is the poetry of the Brexiteers "five per cent profit (and ten per cent more in the estuaries) " split level shopping and bleak high-risers. There is also impermanence in "The Trees" . plus "ash hair, toad hands, prune face dried into lines" (the old fools) "groping back to bed after a piss" (Sad Steps). Defining of the late 20th ce ...more
rebecca
eh.
some neat imagery and stuff, as to be expected from larkin. nothing particularly profound. i think i prefer the whitsun weddings (so far) - although this be the verse is probably one of my favourite poems of his. i also liked solar (however, it seems uncharacteristically positive for larkin). there were a couple of other poems i wanted to mention too but i can't remember their names and i'm not sure where i put my copy so um... sorry.
wawbax
Jan 11, 2017 wawbax rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-5, poetry, read-in-2017
[2.4]
Courtney Johnston
This is the one with those poems: 'Annus Mirabilis'

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) -
Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban
And the Beatles' first LP.


and '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.


For me, these are almost like a composer who slaves away for decades on little-known works, but has ear-fame for writing radio jingles: catchy
...more
Richard
Sep 29, 2016 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads, poetry
When he's good, Larkin is really, really good. There are some fine poems in High Windows. "The Trees", "Cut Grass", "Dublinesque" and "The Explosion" are simply quite beautiful; and the titular "High Windows" itself is something special: a spectacular transition from in-your-face iconoclasm to the ethereal, in just five stanzas. The most famous poems in the book, "This Be The Verse" and "Annus Mirabilis", are not quite there; the latter is let down by the bathetic reprise of its last stanza; an ...more
Ellie Rose McKee
I didn't really get on well with these poems at all. Not for me.
Vilém Zouhar
The answer to the issue of 'missing out' is and always will be: 'yes - you will miss out'. What's essential to realize is that we will actually miss a lot of things and that shouldn't matter, because everyone will. To fight envy, you have to truly enjoy and take pleasure in your own doing.
In one of the poems, the author imagines a couple having sex (the poem bellow). He feels pain, but he tries to dignify the suffering caused by the feeling of missing out and/or staying alone. He describes that
...more
Julia
Dec 02, 2014 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
or, i guess, the second, i read it december second, because i began and finished it in the two o'clock hour as two friends sat on my floor, one helping the other with statistics. anyway i've been looking for high windows (or the less deceived, or the whitsun weddings) forever and i found this at powell's, back during o-week. and then it sat on my desk until now. it's funny that i bought it during college orientation because, well, it's about death and aging, is not just about but obsessed with t ...more
Robert Beveridge
Philip Larkin, High Windows (Faber, 1974)

Larkin, the celebrated librarian-poet, got somewhat cranky in his middle age. He also got more experimental, both qualities that make for fine poetry. Add to these scurrilousness, a wicked sense of humor, and an ear for rhythm matched only in the modern world's finest poets, and you have a recipe for greatness.

So why doesn't Larkin always pull it off? Good question. When he's on, he's very, very on, but when he's off, it's a mess. Unlike most poets, Larki
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Kid
  • Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis
  • Tell Me the Truth about Love
  • Death of a Naturalist
  • Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber Library)
  • The War Poems
  • Questions of Travel
  • Feminine Gospels: Poems
  • Garbage
  • Winter Stars
  • The Light the Dead See: Selected Poems
  • Selected Poems and Letters
  • 77 Dream Songs
  • Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty
  • Selected Poems
  • The Bridge
  • Selected Poems
  • Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times
64716
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 ...more
More about Philip Larkin...

Share This Book



“Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.”
46 likes
“The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow
Loosely as cannon-smoke...
Is a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can't come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere.”
17 likes
More quotes…