Category Archives: Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin – Poet and Librarian

Photo Source: Simon K.

I first came across Philip Larkin’s work while studying in college.  In fact, one of my favorite “perks” of obtaining my B.A. in English was that, during the process, I was exposed to so many wonderful authors and poets.  I was introduced to an array of novels or poetry collections that I never would think to pick up on my own; college made me a more adventurous reader.

What drew me to Philip Larkin the most was that while writing he worked as a librarian.  To me, he was the perfect example of someone who enjoyed success and acclaim for his written work while maintaining a full-time job, which was also linked to his passion in life.  It was both inspiring and comforting – perhaps one day I could do the same.

Skin

Obedient daily dress,
You cannot always keep
That unfakable young surface.
You must learn your lines –
Anger, amusement, sleep;
Those few forbidding signs

Of the continuous coarse
Sand-laden wind, time;
You must thicken, work loose
Into an old bag
Carrying a soiled name.
Parch then; be roughened; sag;

And pardon me, that I
Could find, when you were new,
No brash festivity
To wear you at, such as
Clothes are entitled to
Till the fashion changes.

From: The Less Deceived


Love

The difficult park of love
Is being selfish enough,
Is having the blind persistence
To upset an existence
Just for your own sake.
What cheek it must take.

And then the unselfish side –
How can you be satisfied,
Putting someone else first
So that you come off worst?
My life is for me.
As well ignore gravity.

Still, vicious or virtuous,
Love suits most of us.
Only the bleeder found
Selfish this wrong way round
Is ever wholly rebuffed,
And he can get stuffed.

From:  The Collected Poems

Buy Philip Larkin on Amazon.

And, just in case the link with the picture does not work, photo source from this site:
http://www.romanianstudies.org/content/2010/10/philip-larkin-1922-1985-poetry-in-translation-xiii-%E2%80%9Cheads-in-the-womens-ward%E2%80%9D-azil/

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