And featured the Larkin biographer, and ex-Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, in discussion with Michael Braziller about two of Larkin’s poems, Whitsun Weddings and High Windows: followed by a question and answer session with the audience. But the style is all his own. But supposing it is a fictional Larkin riding a metaphorical train, who in some alternative dimension, off to seek a divorce from Monica Jones in order to marry Maeve Brennan. will help you with any book or any question. If you know that it was possible at the time, and something commonly done, to buy the pattern for a dress you had seen in a magazine, and that the pattern came with a label of the designer that could be sewn in. Keats invented this stanza for his summer odes, and Larkin’s formal allusion evokes the summer season, its redolent promise and pastoral sweetness. The main usefulness of the article, for me at least, is Hitchens coining of the phrase, ‘the Terry Eagleton crew’, to describe the seemingly increasing numbers of people ready to dismiss Larkin’s work, because of their dismissal of Larkin as a man. Cupid’s arrow, which changes indifference to desire, carries a valence greater than even the god can know: for what begins as indifference and turns to love also turns to new forms of neglect, of difficulty, of disappointment (“And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled / A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower / Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.”). And, the reported timescale of that relationship, they met in 1955, began their affair in 1960, and if one believes Larkin himself, between Love Me Do and the Chatterley trial, in 1962 he discovered what sexual intercourse was. Among many rather extraordinary statements made by Mr Motion, were that he had never noticed before the line “Like an outdated combine harvester” in High Windows, and that “like an arrow-shower…Sent out of sight” was perhaps a reference to the Laurence Olivier’s version of Henry V, that he was, or wasn’t, sure Larkin had seen. These specific traditions and continuities also form a part of a larger web of meaning in this poem. Although Philip Larkin turned down the office of Britain’s poet laureate following the death of John Betjeman in 1984 (it ended up going to Ted Hughes), Larkin had already inherited Betjeman’s cultural place in Britain and was one of the country’s most popular poets. That Larkin acknowledges the past, without praising the present, is perhaps his original sin. Larkin’s initial confusion that the girls are actually men —that is, “porters larking with the mails”—becomes somewhat charged in the crossed wires of homonym.

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