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Philip Larkin Biography | Poet

Photo of Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin was one of the most famous poets of the twentieth century, especially in England. He was born on the 9th of August in 1922 in Coventry, Warwickshire, England. He passed away at the age of 63 in 1985 on December the 2nd in Hull, Humberside, England. The cause of death was esophageal cancer. Some people still call him 'England's other poet Laureate.' The Whitsun Weddings is probably his most famous work, although some people might know him from his individual poems more than his entire collections of work.

Philip Larkin's Educative Background

Philip Larkin was actually taught at home before the age of eight, with his mother and sister acting as his early educators. He then went to Coventry's King Henry VIII Junior School, before moving on to the King Henry VIII Senior School. Philip Larkin was eventually able to get into St. John's College, Oxford. He made it to Oxford University and eventually earned a first-class honours degree, which is an impressive academic distinction in England. He had the sort of varied and yet distinguished educative background that distinguishes many modern poets.

The Family and Life of Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin's biography is very unique to the early and middle twentieth century. His father, for instance, was actually enthusiastic about the Nazi party and attended the Nuremberg rallies. It is debatable whether his father's political beliefs had much of an effect on Philip Larkin. Some people remember his as being very racist and sexist in conversation, although he doesn't seem to have been very political about that. Other people don't remember him that way. One of Philip Larkin's most famous poems is This Be the Verse, and it suggests that he might have had some unique parental issues.

One way or another, Philip Larkin recalled his childhood as being very sedate. He had bad vision in a time when that sort of thing was very difficult to correct, and he tended to stutter, which made him retreat into books. All that reading certainly paid off later in life. However, Philip Larkin was known for being very shy and retiring for most of his life, which helped hurt the level of fame that he enjoyed when he was still around. He was an unmarried man for life, and spent a good portion of his life working as a librarian.

The Notable Work of Philip Larkin

The Whitsun Weddings, which was published in 1964, really put Philip Larkin on the map when it came to the world of poetry, even though he'd had publications before that point. Ten years later, he published the equally famous High Windows. While he was a prose writer, Philip Larkin will always be more well-known for his poetry.

Interestingly enough, Philip Larkin was a big fan of jazz, as well as a skilled critic of jazz. At the time of his life, he was known for that. However, people specifically know him for his most famous poems today.

Reasons to Remember Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin wasn't overly concerned with the politics of his day. A good portion of the writings from this time period clearly reflect the political and cultural climate of the time. All works are inevitably a product of their time, of course, and they cannot or should not escape that distinction. However, Philip Larkin was more concerned about exploring universal themes like loneliness, love, and mortality. His works therefore have more relevance today than the usual middle twentieth century work on the Cold War or middle class life.

Philip Larkin often used technically proficient styles as well as poetic meters, making his poetry less formless than a good portion of the poetry that was being written during this time period. He had a dark, cynical, and straightforward way of writing. His writing style has certain characteristics that seem to be unique to British culture, which is one of many reasons why he is still such a beloved poet there.

Unlike many of the poets of the day, Philip Larkin was able to blend the newer and the older styles very effectively. His work is going to be more popular to the people outside of poetic academic circles, since the poetry written within those circles tends to seem shapeless. However, he managed to please the academics as well, striking a rare and impressive balance. 

Philip Larkin: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes