Two noteworthy comments by critics the following two

This preview shows page 15 - 17 out of 30 pages.

Two Noteworthy Comments By Critics The following two comments by critics deserve to be quoted here: (1) “Regarded for much of his career as a minor poet with a narrow range of subject-matter, Larkin now seems to dominate the history of English poetry in the second half of the (twentieth) century much as T.S. Eliot dominated it in the first. Though detractors continue to speak of his gloom, philistinism, insularity, and anti-modernism, the authority and grandiloquence of his long poems, and the grace, sharpness, or humour of his shorter ones now seem indisputable, as does his clear-eyed engagements with love, marriage, freedom, destiny, ageing, death, and other far from marginal subjects. The appearance of his “Collected Poems” in 1988, while turning up no new masterpieces added over eighty poems to the Larkin canon, considerably enlarging our sense of a poet who had published only four slim volumes in his life-time.” (P.B.M) (2) “But he is far more than a social observer or commentator in verse, however acute and sensitive. Compared with the great poets of the recent past—the heroic generation of modernism—he is undeniably narrow; but he is also deep, in his own characteristic way. Each of his mature volumes contains one or two longish, finely wrought poems which touch on the major and perennial themes of existence: death in Church Going (“The Less
Deceived”); love and marriage in the title poem of “The Whitsun Weddings”, and love and death in An Arundel Tomb in the same collection; old age in The Old Fools, and death in The Building (“High Windows”). Each of his collections, too, contains a number of short lyrics, sometimes difficult, but of marked aesthetic intensity and at times hauntingly beautiful: Coming, Going, Age, Absences, Water, Days, Afternoons. Larkin’s mood is, admittedly, often bleak or sad or autumnal, occasionally even despairing. But certain poems attain a note of celebration, like The Trees or Show Saturday. Profoundly agnostic, Larkin still finds value and consolation in the recurring rituals that bring human beings together, like a funeral, a wedding, an annual horse-show. Reading Larkin one misses large gestures of affirmation or defiance—the kind of thing he found he could not accept in Yeats—and their absence can be a little lowering. But Larkin’s poetry offers many satisfactions; like other good poets he has made positive poems out of negative feelings.” Philip Larkin, an eminent writer in postwar England, was a national favorite poet who was commonly referred to as "England's other Poet Laureate" until his death in 1985. Indeed, when the position of laureate became vacant in 1984, many poets and critics favored Larkin's appointment, but the shy, provincial author preferred to avoid the limelight. An "artist of the first rank" in the words of Southern Review contributor John Press, Larkin achieved acclaim on the strength of an extremely small body of work—just over one hundred pages of poetry in four slender volumes that appeared at almost decade- long intervals. These collections, especially The Less Deceived, The Whitsun Weddings, and High Windows,

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture