Biography Philip Larkin
Philip Arthur Larkin, CH, CBE, FRSL (9 August 1922 â€“ 2 December 1985) is commonly regarded as one of the greatest English poets of the latter half of the twentieth century. He was also a novelist and a jazz critic. He spent almost all of his working life as a university librarian. He first came to prominence with the publication in 1955 of his second collection of poems, The Less Deceived, which was followed by The Whitsun Weddings in 1964 and High Windows in 1974. He was offered the Poet Laureateship following the death of John Betjeman in 1984, but he declined the honour.
Larkin was born in the city of Coventry. From 1930 to 1940 he was educated at King Henry VIII School in Coventry and, in October 1940, in the midst of the Second World War, he went up to St John's College, Oxford, to read English language and literature. Having been rejected for military service because of his poor eyesight, he was able, unlike many of his contemporaries, to follow the traditional full-length degree course and attained a first-class honours degree in 1943. While at Oxford he met Kingsley Amis, who would become a lifelong friend and frequent correspondent.
Shortly after graduating from Oxford, Larkin was appointed municipal librarian at Wellington, Shropshire. In 1946 he became assistant librarian at University College, Leicester and, in 1950, sub-librarian at Queen's University Belfast. By this time he had published two novels and his first collection of poetry. In March 1955 Larkin was appointed librarian at the University of Hull, a position he retained until his death.
During the thirty years he spent in Hull, Larkin produced a significant body of poetry. In 2003, almost two decades after his death and despite controversy about his personal life and opinions, 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 British post-war writer.
Main article: List of poems by Philip Larkin
For the full contents of each volume, see its article.
The North Ship, The Fortune Press, 1945, ISBN 9780571105038
XX Poems, Privately Printed, 1951
The Less Deceived, The Marvell Press, 1955, ISBN 978-0900533068
"Lines on a Young Lady's Autograph Album"
The Whitsun Weddings, Faber and Faber, 1964, ISBN 9780571097104
"The Whitsun Weddings"
"An Arundel Tomb"
"A Study of Reading Habits"
"Home is So Sad"
High Windows, Faber and Faber, 1974, ISBN 9780571114511
"This Be The Verse"
Thwaite, Anthony, ed. (1988), Collected Poems, Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-15386-0
"Aubade" (first published 1977)
"Party Politics" (last published poem)
"The Dance" (unfinished & unpublished)
"Love Again" (unpublished)
Thwaite, Anthony, ed. (2003), Collected Poems, Faber and Faber, ISBN 9780571216543
The North Ship
The Less Deceived
The Whitsun Weddings
Two appendices of all other published poems, including XX Poems