Biography of Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin was an English poet and one of the most acclaimed poets of the latter half of the 20th century. He attended Oxford, then studied professionally to become a librarian, a career he would retain even as he grew famous for his poetry. His body of work totaled only about 100 pages, a small size, but he nonetheless attained critical acclaim. Larkin had a reputation for being grumpy and glum, and many of his poems deal with sad themes. In 1984, he was offered the position of Poet Laureate, but he declined to take it. In a 2003 Poetry Book Society survey, Larkin was named Britain's best-loved poet of the last 50 years.


Study Guides on Works by Philip Larkin

Written around 1956, “An Arundel Tomb” was published in Larkin’s 1964 collection The Whitsun Weddings and is one of his most famous poems. The book was a commercial success by poetry standards. In the poem, the speaker is inspired by seeing a pair...

An aubade is a poem traditionally set at dawn or early morning, and typically about parting lovers. This “Aubade” doesn’t involve love, however, despite its fitting setting. In the poem, which uses an ABABCCDEED rhyme scheme, the speaker wakes up...

“Sunny Prestatyn” is one of the poems in Philip Larkin’s poetry volume called The Whitsun Weddings, which is a collection of 32 poems published in the United Kingdom by Faber and Faber. The poem was believed to be first published in 1964, though...

“The Whitsun Weddings,” the titular poem of a book by the same name, is perhaps the most-discussed poem by Philip Larkin, known as England’s ‘poet laureate of disappointment.’ With eight stanzas of ten lines each, rhyming like Keatsian odes but...