‘Poetry of Departures’
Philip Larkin (August 9, 1922–December 2, 1985), was a librarian at the University of Hull in the north of England. He was also a major poet; almost thirty years after his death, he is consistently ranked among the top ten post-war English writers. Born in Coventry, he studied at Oxford University and became best friends with Kingsley Amis; he contributed to and helped edit Amis’ first novel, “Lucky Jim,” which launched Amis on his own legendary career in literature.
He accepted the position at Hull, far away from the London literary scene, in 1955 and never left. He rarely saw London or Oxford, even more rarely spent time abroad, never set foot in Canada or America. In 1964, a television program profiled Larkin, who by then had published two novels and three volumes of poetry and was being ranked among the best writers of his generation. Asked about his affiliation with Hull, he replied, “I never thought about Hull until I was here. Having got here, it suits me in many ways. It is a little on the edge of things, I think even its natives would say that. I rather like being on the edge of things. One doesn’t really go anywhere by design, you know, you put in for jobs and move about, you know, I’ve lived in other places.”