Philip Larkin - Poets' Corner

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John F
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Philip Larkin - Poets' Corner

Post by John F » Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:14 pm

Larkin was the greatest English poet of his generation (Seamus Heaney was Irish) and I would have thought he had long since taken his place in Poet's Corner. Neither has Heaney, but maybe he hasn't been dead long enough. Shortly after this spring's knighthoods have been announced, I recall that neither Larkin nor Heaney was knighted, though Heaney received the Nobel Prize in literature. Nowadays it seems that for a poet to be knighted he has to be the poet laureate, a position that neither requires nor is conducive to outstanding poetic achievement.

Philip Larkin to Get a Memorial Stone in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey
By Christopher D. Shea
June 17, 2015

LONDON — The British poet Philip Larkin (1922-1985) — a malcontent with a reclusive streak and an acid take on his own success — will receive a jolt of posthumous recognition when Westminster Abbey adds a memorial stone in his honor to its Poets’ Corner, a site featuring tributes to 67 (soon to be 68) of the leading writers in the English language.

Larkin’s stone name will sit alongside commemorations and graves for figures like Henry James, D.H. Lawrence, C.S. Lewis and Chaucer, whose tomb lies in the center of the space. (The Abbey holds more than 3,000 graves and memorials in all.) The stone will be laid on Dec. 2, 2016, 31 years to the day after Larkin’s death in 1985. Details on its exact placement and inscription have not been completed.

Larkin was born in Coventry in 1922 and studied at Oxford. Deemed too sickly to fight in the British Army, Larkin worked in a library through the latter years of World War II and published his first book of poems, “The North Ship,” in 1945. He wrote two novels and a number of essays, and published his final poetry collection, “High Windows,” in 1974. He was offered the post of Britain’s Poet Laureate in 1984 but turned down the honor, fearing it would drag him too far into the public eye.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev. Dr. John Hall, announced the commemoration plans at the office at the University of Hull, where Larkin worked as a librarian for three decades. In a statement, he said: “Philip Larkin will be memorialized very near Geoffrey Chaucer finding a fitting place among his fellow poets. I have no doubt that his work and memory will live on as long as the English language continues to be understood.” ... ter-abbey/
John Francis

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