The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin, edited by Archie Burnett. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $40 (768p) ISBN 978-0-374-12696-4
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The poems of British master Philip Larkin (1922–1985), one of the great mid-century poets in English, have had a frustrating life since the death of their author: this is the third book of Larkin poems bearing the word Collected or Complete in their titles. The first Collected was an edition edited by Anthony Thwaite containing poems Larkin published during his lifetime as well as uncollected and unpublished work, all of its arranged in chronological order, dispensing with Larkin’s own arrangement of his poems in his published books. The second Collected redressed this omission by publishing only those poems Larkin collected in the four volumes of poetry—The North Ship; The Less Deceived; The Whitsun Weddings; and the famous High Windows—as arranged in those original volumes. This third edition contains all the poems included in the previous volumes plus poems from Early Poems and Juvenilia as well as other scattered poems not previously published. Burnett also includes comprehensive notes. Larkin was a master versifier, but within strict meter and rhyme he could be both disarmingly casual and utterly precise, the only poet capable of turning a kind of grumpiness into transcendent truth telling: “Death,” he notes, “is no different whined at than withstood.” This will be an essential book for poetry lovers. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 768 pages - 978-0-571-24007-4
Hardcover - 729 pages - 978-0-571-24006-7
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