The Complete Poems
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The Complete Poems

4.57 of 5 stars 4.57  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  14 reviews
This entirely new edition brings together all of Philip Larkin's poems. In addition to those that appear in Collected Poems (1988) and Early Poems and Juvenilia (2005), some unpublished pieces from Larkin's typescripts and workbooks are included, as well as verse—by turns scurrilous, satirical, affectionate, and sentimental—that had been tucked away in his letters. The man...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published January 19th 2012 by Faber & Faber (first published 2012)
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Reading these poems is like being a stunned Canadian tourist visiting famous European sites for the first time. Everyone else has been there, everyone else knows how beyond marvelous or sublime it is, but hey, this is my first time, and I want to shout, "Look how terrific this is!!", as if it is the first time for you all too.
Good books do that to you.
James Murphy
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 wo...more
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 p...more

High Windows is always my favorite poem, it's even more amazing if you read it out loud. What a king of words, a beautiful cynic. Fantastic.
Jeff Howells
The title Complete Poems hardly does this justice...not only does it contain everything published by Larkin officially during his lifetime but also contains every poem he committed to paper, be it juvenilia, letter, post card or scribble. It also provides a commentary (the 2nd half of the book) on everything, including every different word or phrase using in the drafts. Basically it's everything AND the kitchen sink. It's arguable that some of this should have remained in the vaults but we live...more
Catherine McCallum
I've always been ambivalent about Philip Larkin's place as Britain's greatest post-war poet, but this collection adds to the poems an extensive commentary which helps explain Larkin's pessimism and gloomy outlook. The poems of course stand alone, but the commentary helps in understanding Larkin as someone not entirely mired in discontent, who is reacting in a visceral and personal way to the more troubling circumstances of his life. There are some truly great poems here, and lovely, spare descri...more
P.C. Dettman
Brilliant poet, and the commentary very much adds to them. First-rate collection and editing.
Joseph Mumford
I received this as a Christmas present; obviously, I was overjoyed.

Not a bad thing to say really. It's all here, plus some intriguing commentary.

If it wasn't for Larkin, I wouldn't even be interested in poetry.

Personal favourites are 'Toads', 'Church Going', 'Vers de Societe' and, of course, 'This Be The Verse'.

Bleak, pessimistic and disturbing, but ultimately beautiful, is how I'd sum it up.

Thom Satterlee
Larkin was the first "living" poet I read, back in 1984 when he was still living. I still admire his skill with formal verse, his pitch perfect voice, his sense of irony, loneliness, and shadowed (sometimes overshadowed) hopes. Each spring I say "The Trees" out loud, several times. When I'm feeling less than hopeful about life here-and-now, I'll recite "This Be The Verse" and, oddly, feel better afterwards.
Jan 25, 2012 !Tæmbuŝu marked it as to-read
Shelves: poetry
Paulo Migliacci
Loved it at 17, love it at close to 44: there's not much in my life that merits this dubious distinction. (Or maybe I'm just not lucky in my ratio.)
Read a poem per night since last spring, loved the experience. Larkin's voice and wit cut through with precision. Wonderful.
Simon Campbell
Feb 05, 2013 Simon Campbell marked it as to-read
"Parents, they f**k you up" can find it?
Dec 30, 2013 Laura is currently reading it
Shelves: owned, poetry
Will come back to this later.
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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
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“Only one ship is seeking us, a black-
Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back
A huge and birdless silence.
In her wake
No waters breed or break.”
More quotes…