Larkin is an established poet and was cherished by people all around the world. He won the respect of many readers, critics and non-critics. He was gifted in his writing and through this gift he bought us the poems we have today.
Larkin therefore can be said to be a memorable poet and this will now be investigated. How is he memorable? And what makes him memorable?
To start the investigation off I am going to look at the mood poems were written in by Larkin. Each poem is set in its own mood and the mood can help the reader to understand the poem. “Dockery and Son” is the first poem. It is about Larkin going to a funeral and remembering one of his university colleagues called Dockery. Larkin has found out that his son now attends the university and this leads on to the general image of the poem.
“…In ’43, when I was twenty-one.
If he was younger, did he get this son
At nineteen, twenty? Was he that withdrawn…”
(Larkin page 152 Dockery and Son)
This quote shows the awe that Larkin shows at this point in time. The poem was written in a sad mood as it is a remembrance poem. He then continues the poem in much the same way showing his point of view and talking about a popular concept for him, life.
“Life is first boredom, then fear.
Whether or not we use it, it goes…..”
(Larkin page 153 Dockery and Son)
Life is a matter that Larkin talks about a lot of the time. Whether in high spirits or in low. Therefore the next poem I will look at is “High Windows”. This is yet another example of Larkin’s preoccupation with the disappointing nature of experience, which I have illustrated for Dockery and Son. High Windows is the culmination of Larkin’s disappointment. He says that as age comes along, fantasies from the younger years of a person’s life, seem to disappear as well.
“I know this paradise
Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives-
Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
Like an outdated combine harvester,”
(Larkin page 165 High Windows)
In this poem, Larkin is emphasising to what extent he feels cheated by his experience of life. However, although Larkin is dissatisfied with what his generation has been allowed, he looks at how life treated those who were old when he was young. As Larkin looks at the freedom given to the generation which has succeeded his own in the poem “High Windows”, he is confronted with an optimistic image of endlessness. This is yet another one of his popular subjects and does also occur quite frequently in his poems.
It can be seen from the above examples and quotes, that Larkin writes poems that have certain moods and thoughts behind them. This is an important factor for a poet and this helped Larkin to be remembered in the way that he is today.
Another matter that could help to see why Larkin is such a memorable poet is whether or not he is arrogant in his poems. Some say that he is and others disagree. Hence I will investigate another few poems to see if he is or is not.
The poem I am going to look at to start this part off is “The View”. This is a poem looking on life from the elderly person’s point of view. Larkin says in this poem that life doesn’t turn out to be what you expected when you were younger. It changes and becomes drear:
“What’s left is drear.
Unchilded and unwifed, I’m
Able to view that clear:
So final. And so near.”
(Larkin page 195 The View)
He does not appear to be arrogant in this poem. He seems very modest, as can be seen from the quote, and he also is being realistic. This brings about the idea that Larkin is not arrogant.
To end this part of the investigation off, I shall look at another poem called “Wild Oats”. This is about two young women walking into Larkin’s workplace and he looking at them in amazement. One in a beautiful “English rose” , the other a “friend in specs”. Larkin finds that he can talk to and go out with the one with specs.
“But it was the friend I took out,
And in seven years after that
Wrote over four hundred letters
Gave a ten-guinea ring….”
(Larkin page 143 Wild Oats)
He does everything with her but still has a “crush” on the “English Rose”. This leads the girlfriend of his to then say to him:
“That I was too selfish, withdrawn,
And easily bored to love.”
In all I can say that Larkin is not an arrogant poet from the poem that I have read. I can say that sometimes, when he doesn’t understand something, he might knock it down a little but does actually respect it.
Finally I will look at if Larkin keeps his life hidden. In his poems he talks a lot about life events and things that are not fiction. He therefore brings his life into the poems that he writes but does not base the whole poem upon these happenings.
From the quotes listed above, it is possible to say that life is an important factor in his poetry and it is because of the realism that is involved in his poems, that he is such a memorable poet.
Larkin writes from different perspectives and he does so well. He will write a poem to reflect a mood or an experience that might occur in life. To write a poem on this is what forms the base of a real ingenious poet and Larkin is this in my opinion. Therefore I join in saying that Larkin is made a memorable poet and am happy to agree with that statement overall.
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