Philip Larkin: it's all between the lines

Philip Larkin would be an excellent choice if he's on the paper - and there is a good chance he will be

Why is he likely to be on? 

- He hasn't come up since 2014.

- There is at least one "British man" poet on the paper (with one exception over the last seven years). Keats was on the paper last year, so he's not likely to repeat, leaving Larkin  or Hopkins to fill the "British man" category. 

Why is he a good choice for the exam? 

Compared to many other poets, Philip Larkin is quite unusual. He's probably the most difficult poet on the course - but that's a good thing. While everyone else will be going on about Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin's love of fairytales or Paul Durcan's troubled relationship with his father, you can impress the examiner with your knowledge of the unusual features in Larkin's poetry. We discuss some highlights in the video below and in much more detail here.

What will I learn by watching the video?

- Larkin's unusual, detached tone that had him accused of being melancholic, misanthropic and blasphemous is better understood when examining his biography.
(Spoiler: he actually turns out to be quite positive in his attitudes!)

- The main themes:
Death and transience 
Marriage 
Philosophical reflection on values 
War 
Religion

- Enjambment, a very important feature of Larkin's poetry

- Larkin's very specific use of metaphors and precise use of language



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