Adam Ash

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Friday, January 28, 2005

Can a bad man be a good poet?

Article in Poetry about Philip Larkin, whose collected poetry once went to the top of the best-seller list in England (the guy who wrote: "families, they fuck you up" and said sex started in 1963 or somewhere). Link courtesy of Tingle Alley.


At 1/31/2005 9:11 PM, Blogger Tracy Q said...

It's funny how Larkin works. I have never been in the least bit troubled by his racism, even though I can get quite riled up about racism (real, imagined, theoretical, projected) in people I know. I suppose if forced to explain it, I would say that Larkin's racism was a form of immaturity or underdevelopment. Not wickedness. I happen to be a fan of his poems and I came to appreciate his poetry (and his essays) before I knew about his racism. Is that it? He was not a completely balanced person -- he was advanced in some respects, backward in others. Was Larkin "bad" or just "not very nice"? My sense of it, based on the Poetry piece and what I've read here and there, is: the latter. And why do they bring up that he lied to his lovers? What did he lie about -- that is the real question. Lying in itself is not "bad." And how many poets have never lied to a lover?


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