66 Notable Quotes By Philip Larkin, The Author Of High Windows
Radford, Coventry, United Kingdom
Philip Larkin was an English poet, librarian, novelist and a jazz critic best known for his poems and novels. His first book of poetry was ‘The North Ship’, and two novels named ‘Jill’ and ‘A Girl in Winter’. However, his work gained prominence with a collection of poems ‘The Less Deceived’ which were followed by The ‘Whitsun Weddings’ and ‘High Windows’. Larkin was a graduated from the University of Oxford with English language and Literature. After graduation Larkin became a librarian and worked as the university librarian at the University of Hull. During his tenure as a librarian for 30 years, Larkin produced most of his significant works. He was criticized for including no to minimal feelings in his poems. However, Larkin continued his unique style of poems that were highly structured but surprisingly flexible which he is known for now. Larkin was known for being a no-nonsense, solitary Englishman who disliked fame and had no patience for the rising trend of attracting public attention by other writers of his era. Here are some notable quotes by Philip Larkin.
I have no enemies. But my friends don't like me. Poetry is nobody’s business except the poet’s, and everybody else can fuck off. What will survive of us is love. So many things I had thought forgotten
Return to my mind with stranger pain:
Like letters that arrive addressed to someone
Who left the house so many years ago. I feel the only thing you can do about life is to preserve it, by art if you're an artist, by children if you're not. How little our careers express what lies in us, and yet how much time they take up. It's sad, really. I can't understand these chaps who go round American universities explaining how they write poems: It's like going round explaining how you sleep with your wife. Originality is being different from oneself, not others. Something, like nothing, happens anywhere. On me your voice falls as they say love should,
Like an enormous yes. Uncontradicting solitude
Supports me on its giant palm;
And like a sea-anemone
Or simple snail, there cautiously
Unfolds, emerges, what I am. Home is so sad. It stays as it was left, / Shaped to the comfort of the last to go / As if to win them back Sex means nothing--just the moment of ecstasy, that flares and dies in minutes. Parents fuck you up. They don't mean to but they do. I have a sense of melancholy isolation, life rapidly vanishing, all the usual things. It's very strange how often strong feelings don't seem to carry any message of action. Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless. Since the majority of me
Rejects the majority of you,
Debating ends forthwith, and we
Divide. Everyone should be forcibly transplanted to another continent from their family at the age of three. Deprivation is for me what daffodils were for Wordsworth. I am always trying to 'preserve' things by getting other people to read what I have written, and feel what I felt. Only in books the flat and final happens,
Only in dreams we meet and interlock.... Dear, I can't write, it's all a fantasy: a kind of circling obsession. I wouldn't mind seeing China if I could come back the same day. ...the breath that sharpens life is life itself... The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow
Loosely as cannon-smoke...
Is a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can't come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere. There is bad in all good authors: what a pity the converse isn't true! Most things may never happen: this one will. Depression hangs over me as if I were Iceland. SEX is designed for people who like overcoming obstacles. Saki says that youth is like hors d'oeuvres: you are so busy thinking of the next courses you don't notice it. When you've had them, you wish you'd had more hors d'oeuvres. In times when nothing stood / but worsened, or grew strange / there was one constant good: / she did not change. Sexual intercourse began in nineteen sixty-three (Which was rather late for me) between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles' first LP. It becomes still more difficult to find
Words at once true and kind,
Or not untrue and not unkind. I'd like to think...that people in pubs would talk about my poems Here is unfenced existence I have wished you something
None of the others would.... Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone fidelity
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love. This is the first thing I have understood:
Time is the echo of an axe within a wood. One of the quainter quirks of life is that we shall never know who dies on the same day as we do ourselves. I think that at the bottom of all art lies the impulse to preserve. I came to the conclusion that an enormous amount of research was needed to form an opinion on anything, and therefore abandoned politics altogether as a topic of conversation. Why can't one stop being a son without becoming a father? I would not dare
Console you if I could. What can be said,
Except that suffering is exact, but where
Desire takes charge, readings will grow erratic? Life is first boredom, then fear.
whether or not we use it, it goes,
and leaves what something hidden from us chose,
and age, and then the only end of age. They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you. In life, as in art, talking vitiates doing. The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful
Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.
From The Mower If I looked into your face / expecting a word or a laugh on the old conditions, / it would not be a friend who met my eye It never worked for me.
Something to do with violence
A long way back, and wrong rewards,
And arrogant eternity. Time is the echo of an axe
Within a wood. And I am sick for want of sleep;
So sick, that I can half-believe
The soundless river pouring from the cave
Is neither strong nor deep;
Only an image fancied in conceit. Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself. It will be worth it, if in the end I manage
To blank out whatever it is that is doing the damage.
Then there will be nothing I know.
My mind will fold into itself, like fields, like snow. He [Llewelyn Powys] has always in mind the great touchstone Death & consequently life is always judged as how far it fits us, or compensates us, for ultimately dying. Mother's electric blanket broke, & I have 'mended' it, so she may be practising suttee involuntarily before long. Living toys are something novel,
But it soon wears off somehow. Ought we to smile / Perhaps make friends? No: in the race for seats / You're best alone. Friendship is not worth while.
Only one ship is seeking us, a black-
Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back
A huge and birdless silence.
In her wake
No waters breed or break.
Earth never grieves, I thought, walking across the park, watching seagulls cruising greedily above the ground looking for heaven knows what. Don't you think it's a good line? A very good line
I had a moral tutor, but never saw him (the only words of his I remember are 'The three pleasures of life -drinking, smoking, and masturbation')
A good meal can somewhat repair / The eatings of slight love
They both rise / Make for the Coke dispenser. 'What's he like? / Christ, I just told you.
I suppose if one lives to be old, one's entire waking life will be spent turning on the spit of recollection over the fires of mingled shame, pain or remorse. Cheerful prospect! Poetry is an affair of sanity, of seeing things as they are.