The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin. by Archie Burnett by Philip Larkin

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Unfortunately, “The Complete Poems,” which seems to include every scrap of verse Larkin ever wrote, is unlikely to give the casual reader a broader appreciation of his work, as it dilutes his achievement with disposable juvenilia...
-NY Times

Synopsis

This entirely new edition brings together all of Philip Larkin's poems. In addition to those in "Collected Poems" (1988), and in the "Early Poems and Juvenilia" (2005), some unpublished pieces from Larkin's typescripts and workbooks are included, as well as verse (by turns scurrilous, satirical, affectionate, and sentimental) tucked away in his letters. The manuscript and printed sources have been scrutinized afresh; more detailed accounts than hitherto available of the sources of the text and of dates of composition are provided; and, previous accounts of composition dates have been corrected. Variant wordings from Larkin's typescripts and the early printings are recorded. For the first time, the poems are given a comprehensive commentary. This draws critically upon, and substantially extends, the accumulated scholarship on Larkin, and covers closely relevant historical contexts, persons and places, allusions and echoes, and linguistic usage. Due prominence is given to the poet's comments on his poems, which often outline the circumstances that gave rise to a poem, or state what he was trying to achieve. Larkin played down his literariness, but his poetry enrichingly alludes to and echoes the writings of many others; Archie Burnett's commentary establishes him as a more complex and more literary poet than many readers have suspected.
 

About Philip Larkin

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Archie Burnett is co-director (with Christopher Ricks) of the Editorial Institute and Professor of English at Boston University. He has edited the scholarly Oxford editions of The Poems of A. E. Housman (1997) and The Letters of A. E. Housman (2007).Philip Larkin was born in 1922 and grew up in Coventry. In 1955 he became Librarian of the Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull, a post he held until his death in 1985. He was the best-loved poet of his generation and the recipient of innumerable honours, including the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry and the W.H. Smith Award.
 
Published January 1, 2012 by Faber & Faber. 768 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin. by Archie Burnett
All: 4 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Paul Muldoon on Apr 19 2012

Hardly worth even a first look are any of the page after page of “poems not published in the poet’s lifetime.”

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Apr 09 2012

Unfortunately, “The Complete Poems,” which seems to include every scrap of verse Larkin ever wrote, is unlikely to give the casual reader a broader appreciation of his work, as it dilutes his achievement with disposable juvenilia...

Read Full Review of The Complete Poems of Philip ... | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by John Banville on Jan 25 2012

The Complete Poems reveals Larkin as a poet of great and rich abundance, and for this, and for so much else, we owe a debt of gratitude to his surely "definitive" editor.

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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by David Mason on Apr 13 2012

"The Complete Poems" weighs in at over 700 pages, but after page 121 we run out of work published in Larkin's lifetime, and it's mostly downhill.

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