Read The Complete Poems by Philip Larkin Archie Burnett Online


This edition brings together all of Philip Larkin's poems. In addition to those in 'Collected Poems', and in the 'Early Poems and Juvenilia', some unpublished pieces from Larkin's typescripts and workbooks are included, as well as verse tucked away in his letters....

Title : The Complete Poems
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780571240067
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 729 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Complete Poems Reviews

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-29 17:12

    Reading these poems is like being a stunned Canadian tourist visiting famous European sites for the first time. Everyone else has been there, everyone else knows how beyond marvelous or sublime it is, but hey, this is my first time, and I want to shout, "Look how terrific this is!!", as if it is the first time for you all too.Good books do that to you.

  • R.J. Lynch
    2019-03-29 20:14

    I've known Larkin's work since I was at school fifty years ago. For me he's one of the triumvirate, along with Eliot and Auden--the great English language poets of the twentieth century.

  • Aimee
    2019-04-08 15:09

    High Windows is always my favorite poem, it's even more amazing if you read it out loud. What a king of words, a beautiful cynic. Fantastic.

  • Spike Gomes
    2019-04-06 20:59

    Philip Larkin, the saddest heart in the post-war supermarket... from what we know him best by. But what is striking is the large amount of unpublished material from his early years which strikes another tone, as well as the light verse taken from his letters. The image of the dour faced and sparely written bureaucrat/poet for whom there was no longer a "myth-kitty" to draw from juxtaposes itself with the prolific student bubbling over with influences and symbols, as well as the sarcastic penner of bawdy limericks to his friends.Neither of the other two modes is as genius as the one we know him for. The first was full of juvenile aspirations and ham-fisted themes and influences. The latter, had neither the nuance or dimensionality of superb light verse. Still, for better or for worse, every single lyrical verse penned by Larkin is here, with back-end commentary and variations from drafting. Likely, given his own highly reserved manner and cultivated distance from his audience, Larkin himself would not be happy with this edition. His own letters and notes written on pages clearly denote that he thought the bulk of his early work before he found his particular voice and niche in his 30s was bad, and to be honest, his estimation is correct. It's often derivative and occluded. Other times, the frustrations of the writing process break out in the poetry itself. One unfinished and unpublished work just breaks into a long CRAPCRAPCRAPCRAP and stops mid-line. The mature Larkin was definitely one who spent much time crafting and polishing what he wrote. In some respects, he had to, as the prolific nature of his writing output in his youth dwindled with age, to the point that he did not write much at all in the final decade of his life (though my personal favorite "Aubade" was written during this time). In some ways, if you already have a collection of Larkin's verse, you really don't need to get this one. You're mostly getting things he didn't publish for a very good reason. If you're looking to see his development as a poet, his judgement of his own works, as well as his writing process and influences, then this book should be on the list. Just be prepared to wade through a lot of juvenalia and poetic blocs to get there. Certainly, the amount of work and struggle it took to get where he got is something heartening to another poet who feels like all they're producing is crap as well.

  • ZaRi
    2019-04-12 22:22

    Side by side, their faces blurred, The earl and countess lie in stone, Their proper habits vaguely shown As jointed armour, stiffened pleat, And that faint hint of the absurd— The little dogs under their feet.Such plainness of the pre-baroque Hardly involves the eye, untilIt meets his left-hand gauntlet, still Clasped empty in the other; and One sees, with a sharp tender shock, His hand withdrawn, holding her hand.They would not think to lie so long. Such faithfulness in effigyWas just a detail friends would see:A sculptor’s sweet commissioned grace Thrown off in helping to prolong The Latin names around the base.They would not guess how early inTheir supine stationary voyageThe air would change to soundless damage, Turn the old tenantry away;How soon succeeding eyes beginTo look, not read. Rigidly theyPersisted, linked, through lengths and breadths Of time. Snow fell, undated. LightEach summer thronged the glass. A bright Litter of birdcalls strewed the sameBone-riddled ground. And up the paths The endless altered people came,Washing at their identity. Now, helpless in the hollow of An unarmorial age, a troughOf smoke in slow suspended skeins Above their scrap of history, Only an attitude remains:Time has transfigured them into Untruth. The stone fidelityThey hardly meant has come to be Their final blazon, and to prove Our almost-instinct almost true: What will survive of us is love.

  • James Murphy
    2019-04-01 20:25

    If you love Larkin's poetry this is an invaluable collection. It includes all of his poetry, that published and that not published but contained in workbooks. What's most valuable is the commentary on each poem. They note not only the judgments and ideas of critics but also what Larkin himself wrote to friends and other writers about what he tried to do. The editor, Archie Burnett, also points out instances when Larkin, through written comment to others or notes scrawled across the pages of a workbook, expressed his own sense of a poem's worth. The great and the minor are here without any particular arrangement. On p115 the great poem "Aubade" is preceded by an untitled limerick. The published work is followed by the more uneven and unpublished poems Larkin kept in his workbooks. The comments on these poems are shorter and less helpful because they're just coming to light. Larkin freely expresses his own disappointment with many of them. And the reader can often see why they were left in the workbooks rather than published.

  • Robin
    2019-04-21 20:04

    Grabbed this book off the floor of my husband workspace, the "new releases" section near the pool table, which is ususally off limits to wives, children and pets. My first thought: "What is Stephen Tobolowsky doing on the cover of a poetry collection?" You know, the popular character actor? Played the obnoxious insurance salesmen Ned "the Head" in Groundhog Day with Bill Murray? Poetry? What?IMAGINE my surprise to discover Philip Larkin, and read "This be the verse" and other take-no-prisoners poetry by this naughty Brit. Alarming! Crude! Awful! But wait, I'm still reading. Still reading. Heaven help me I read every single poem, some more than twice. Philip Larkin, a man of few words, and very few published poems. But I kept thinking of that Shakespeare quote, "Each Word Stabs." I love it.

  • Joseph Mumford
    2019-03-25 17:00

    I received this as a Christmas present; obviously, I was overjoyed.Not a bad thing to say really. It's all here, plus some intriguing commentary.If it wasn't for Larkin, I wouldn't even be interested in poetry.Personal favourites are 'Toads', 'Church Going', 'Vers de Societe' and, of course, 'This Be The Verse'.Bleak, pessimistic and disturbing, but ultimately beautiful, is how I'd sum it up.

  • Sean O'Brien
    2019-03-28 15:04

    Good to read some poetry when one feels a bit overwhelmed.

  • Danny Daley
    2019-03-22 20:16

    Larkin is widely regarded as one of the three or four most important English poets of the second half of the twentieth century. This book deserves to be reviewed for two concerns, the poems, and the editing and commentary that accompany. First, the poems. The book has every poem Larkin ever committed to paper, at least that we have now. Not just the poems he published, which take only half of the poetry space, but all of the unpublished poems, many incomplete or fragmented, many giving off the feeling that they were scribbled on napkins and scratch paper, maybe with no intention that anyone would ever see them. Some, towards the end, get vulgar or amount to little more than random witticisms. The published material, and maybe the first 1/3 of the unpublished material, is where the poems deserve to be judged. There is no question that, formally, they are very, very well conceived. The meter, the rhyme schemes, and the structure of the poems are crafted very well. The subject matter of the poems is just as important, and I feel that this is where Larkin's work is very much hit or miss for me. Of the 100 or so poems that he published, I loved the ones I loved, maybe 35 of them at most, but I was indifferent towards all the others, simply because they did not contain lucid and interesting themes. Also, as is well known, Larkin was VERY much influenced by Yeats, who most will admire, but I, really, do not. There are enough poems here that I will revisit, and I appreciate and enjoy some of them, but it was a chore to wade through the majority that I found uninteresting. As far as the editing and structure, this was also hit and miss. The organization of the unpublished work was frustrating, as the untitled poems simply blended together, with no distinctive markers between them, so the reader must pay attention to the line numbers to know when one poem ends and another begins, and this is distracting. Also, there is no full table of contents of poems in the proper page order, only an alphabetical list in the back, and there is no single accounting the entire book of the exact number of poems contained therein. The extensive commentary in the back is helpful for catalogue purposes, and contains quotes and information on titles and dates, but doesn't properly "comment" on the work in any critical way, which I would expect from a "commentary." This book is massive, and for the completist, contains everything a Larkin fan might need, aside from critical analysis. All of the work is here, as well as some helpful factual information. For my part, I am glad to have read it, for a full appreciation of Larkins work, but in the final analysis I find myself liking Larkin, but I am not not nearly as enthusiastic as his fans would be. There are certainly some 40-50 poems I will come back to and re-read with great enjoyment.

  • Jeff Howells
    2019-04-02 17:28

    The title Complete Poems hardly does this justice...not only does it contain everything published by Larkin officially during his lifetime but also contains every poem he committed to paper, be it juvenilia, letter, post card or scribble. It also provides a commentary (the 2nd half of the book) on everything, including every different word or phrase using in the drafts. Basically it's everything AND the kitchen sink. It's arguable that some of this should have remained in the vaults but we live in a world where fans want everything published be it deleted scenes from films or every fart and cough made in a music studio. I like Larkin and this really is the final world, but I wanted to own it more than I needed to read it...

  • Catherine McCallum
    2019-04-08 22:15

    I've always been ambivalent about Philip Larkin's place as Britain's greatest post-war poet, but this collection adds to the poems an extensive commentary which helps explain Larkin's pessimism and gloomy outlook. The poems of course stand alone, but the commentary helps in understanding Larkin as someone not entirely mired in discontent, who is reacting in a visceral and personal way to the more troubling circumstances of his life. There are some truly great poems here, and lovely, spare descriptive passages. To my mind, some of his best work remained unpublished in his lifetime and these poems can lead to a new appreciation of his work. Just don't read the book to cheer yourself up.

  • Craig
    2019-04-19 18:19

    Breathtaking.It's particularly rewarding to have alongside a read of one of the excellent Larkin biographies (either Booth's or Motion's).My only minor quibble is that I wish the published poems from the main texts had been given a page each. As published here they tend to run together a wee bit too much.

  • Eric
    2019-03-28 16:11

    The greatest British poet of the 20th century? If I can say yes while at the same time admitting that I don't know a fraction of the British poets writing in the 20th, then yes. He can be funny, sad, thoughtful, evil, sarcastic, insightful, and on and on - frequently all in the same poem. One of my faves since my days at Rockford College, circa 1999. Love life!

  • !Tæmbuŝu
    2019-03-31 19:19

    Reviewed by The Independent, The Guardian

  • Lorraine
    2019-04-14 23:05

    ok, well, this isn't THAT different (look at how many Larkin things I've read). But I DO think this might be the most helpful scholarly edition so far. And I don't know, I just want it. Even though I'm not working on Larkin (yet?)

  • P.C. Dettmann
    2019-04-17 17:06

    Brilliant poet, and the commentary very much adds to them. First-rate collection and editing.

  • Paulo Migliacci
    2019-04-12 20:00

    Loved it at 17, love it at close to 44: there's not much in my life that merits this dubious distinction. (Or maybe I'm just not lucky in my ratio.)

  • Simon Campbell
    2019-04-21 19:08

    "Parents, they f**k you up" can find it?

  • KC Davis
    2019-03-28 18:24

    Read a poem per night since last spring, loved the experience. Larkin's voice and wit cut through with precision. Wonderful.

  • Lawrence
    2019-03-24 21:19

    I really enjoyed Larkin's work! Especially the unpublished poems -- often hilarious! The archival material was illuminating too. A great resource.