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Philip Larkins


Dealing with minor ordinary problems and everyday situations, his poems, marked by deflation and diminution, aim at "preserving" the experiences and feelings of a somewhat "diminished" average life, keeping them from oblivion. Philip Larkin was born in Coventry in 1922 of a middle-class family. During the war he studied at Oxford, where he met the friends with whom he was to create "The Movement". He was still an undergraduate when he started writing poems. He also wrote novels, but soon realized that his true vocation was poetry. He contributed to the New Lines Anthology (1956), and became the most influential of the Movement poets. He was a librarian by profession at university libraries, first in Belfast and then in Hull. He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for poetry and, in 1976, the Shakespear Prize for his contribution to European cuture. In 1984 he was offered the post of Poet Laureate, but he refused saying that he could no longer write poetry. He never married, although heh had a long-standing relationship with Maeve Brennan (1929-2003), whom he met in Hull in 1955 and who left an account of their relationship in The Philip Larkin I knew (2002). Larkin died in 1985.

Among his best-known works we have:
The North Ship
The Less Whitsun Wedding
High Windows
Femmes Damnèes
Aubale (1980).

Larkin believed that a poet must write only what he feels deeply about, avoiding rhetorical expressions and useless emphasis. He wrote poetry, as he himself said, as an act of preservation.

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