The Importance of Elsewhere

Philip Larkin is the most famous and widely read poet in the English-speaking world, after one or two others. Three slim collections of poems made his name: The Less Deceived (1955), written when he was 33; The Whitsun Weddings (1964); and High Windows (1974), written when he was 52, just 11 years before he died in 1985. For those who appreciate poetry and the crafting of language, all three are indispensable.

Listen with Alan

Alan Bennett's anthology, Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin is a great introduction to Larkin and other important English poets — Hardy, Houseman, Betjeman and Auden — plus Irish poet Louis MacNeice. The poems are all wrapped up in Alan's wry commentary from a TV series on which it is based. Six Poets is available as an audio-book read by Alan, which is the best way to enjoy it.

Larkin the Photographer

Philip was also a dabbler of photography and was quite a dab hand with his trusty Rolleiflex. Frances Lincoln — an imprint of London publishers the Quarto Group — released an annotated collection of his photographs in 2015. What will survive of us is love — and photographs.

Curious greatness
Written by Larkin biographer Richard Bradford, with a forward by Mark Haworth-Booth, The Importance of Elsewhere serves as a pictorial guide to Philip's 'curious greatness', revealing what captured his interest and served as inspiration for his remarkable poetry.

In a review of the book, The Independent noted that the photographs 'display the full range of his poetic sensibility, from the melancholic to the comical'. Fascinating on its own merits, but for fans of Philip Larkin's poetry the book is an absolute must-have.


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