A major modern poet, Philip Larkin was born 9 August 1922 in Coventry, England. His poems are notable for their highly structured but flexible verse forms and their combination of simple direct language with acute social and spiritual observation. In 1943, he graduated with a First Class Honours in English from St. John’s College, Oxford. He trained as a librarian and spent most of his working life at the University of Hull, having taken the position of Librarian there in 1955. Larkin died of cancer, aged 63, on 2 December 1985.
He published five short volumes of verse in his lifetime, but considered the totality of his mature work to be contained in The Less Deceived (1955), The Whitsun Weddings (1964) and High Windows (1974). He wrote little in the decade prior to his death and frustration at this loss of inspiration may have contributed to the increasingly reactionary tone of his posthumously published letters.
His most famous poems include:
Selected other poems: