Philip Larkin
Poetic Genius?
By: Jeff Dutchak
A quick biography
Philip Larkin was born on August 9, 1922 in Coventry, a
city in the English Midlands. After he finished his
schooling he applied and was appointed to the position
of Librarian in Wellington, Shropshire. He eventually
went on to become Librarian at the University of Hull
and stayed in this position for most of his life. He was
also a bit of a ladies man, preferring to spend his time
with a number of women like his secretary and fellow
workers instead of committing himself to one lady and
becoming married. He wrote many poems such as
Toads Revisited and Dockery and Son.
Poems he has Written

He has written quite a few, among them are: Mr.
Bleaney, An Arundel Tomb, Dockery and Son,
Vers De Société, and Toads Revisited.
Literary Criticism to An Arundel
Tomb

I don't dislike this poem but I just think, like
many of Larkin's poems, it’s so morbid and
depressing, it monotonously goes on and on. I
think it gives a reference of time by its
description of the two sculptures being slowly
worn away.
Maisy from United Kingdom
My Response to the Criticism

I disagree with the statement that all of his poems are
depressing, I have read a few of Larkin’s works and have found
them not depressing, but calming. Each one is unique. The
Second picture that was shown in the presentation was Arundel
Tomb. It is a sculpture of what appears to be a man and his wife
together even after death. In the last stanza of the poem “Our
almost-instinct almost true: What will survive of us is love.”
defines the symbolism behind the tomb. Sure, the sculpture itself
was a masterpiece but it was more then that, it was a testament
to two hearts refusing to be parted even through their greatest
trial, death. Larkin’s poem is a masterpiece that transforms stone
into words.
What I find “intellectually
challenging and aesthetically
appealing” about Larkin’s poems

I find his poetry to constantly try to open your
eyes to what people; in general are really like.
Whether its explaining human emotion like love
in An Arundel Tomb or how the older we get
the more we want company in Vers De Société
there is always a message that you can find; a
treasure to be found, if your just willing to look.
My attempt at a poem
How does my poem imitate
Larkin’s?

I chose one theme (in this case life) and I chose
to mask over the actual meaning with the
construction of a house. When the plans were
conceived it was the same as a child being
conceived. The storm represented the trials of
life, the more you face them the better you
become at handling them, and the weathered old
house being torn down was an old man dying
and leaving behind memories.
So was Philip Larkin a poetic genius?

Yes, Philip Larkin was a poetic genius. His
poems get to the very core of the human heart,
if you are able to listen and understand what
they mean then everything becomes clear, his
poems may have seemed dreary, but for certain
parts, so are our lives. It is too bad that he is no
longer around to write more of his
philosophical and insightful poems.
Bibliography
Retrieved December 13, 2005 from the World Wide Web:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Larkin*
Larkin, P. (1956). An Arundel Tomb. Retrieved December 13, 2006
from the World Wide Web:
http://www.poetryconnection.net/poets/Philip_Larkin/4760**
*Wikipedia is a website were anyone from around the world can edit the information at any time, I was unable to
find the name of the author, the date the article was submitted, where it was published, or who it was
published by.
**Once again the place of publication and the publisher’s name escaped me.