Philip Larkin was one of post-war England’s most famous poets. Born in Coventry and educated at Oxford, he was also a novelist, and made his living as a librarian at the University of Hull. Larkin, known for his gloomy lyricism, told the Observer in 1979: “I think writing about unhappiness is probably the source of my popularity, if I have any… Deprivation is for me what daffodils were for Wordsworth.” Levine’s acclaim rests on a small body of work—just over one hundred pages of poetry in four books, renowned for clarity, craft and technical skill, which appeared at almost decade-long intervals. He became well known with The Less Deceived (1955), The Whitsun Weddings (1964), and High Windows (1974). These works, and famous poems like “This Be the Verse,” reflect Larkin’s clipped, traditional style, coupled with his despairing view of modern life.

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