Black and white photograph of English poet and librarian Philip Larkin.

Philip Larkin

(1922 - 1985)

The second child of two “awkward” and “shy” parents, Philip Larkin recalled his household in the 1920s as “dull, pot-bound, and slightly mad.” His poetry collection The Less Deceived appeared in 1955, the same year he became the librarian at the University of Hull in Yorkshire. He, along with Kingsley Amis, was one of the informal leaders of The Movement, a postwar English literary group characterized by their antimodernist sensibility. “Aubade,” completed in 1977, was his last major poetic publication, and in 1984 he declined the honor of becoming poet laureate of the United Kingdom. The prospect of having to write verse for ceremonial occasions would have, he said, caused him to “wake up screaming.” In addition to his poetry, Larkin was jazz critic for The Daily Telegraph from 1961 to 1971.

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