Monday, 9 August 2021

Philip Larkin reads Aubade

Philip Arthur Larkin, Hull University's librarian and one of the finest poets in the English language, was born on this day in 1922. To mark the occasion here's the man himself reading what is probably his greatest poem, a meditation on the "unresting", unrelenting approach each day of death. 

Yes, cheery stuff. But that was what he was like. And it takes a special sort of courage, I think, to stare down death like this, not to hide or dissemble or mythologise... just stare, stare at the "awful emptiness for ever" without flinching. It's a beautiful poem and that's another of Larkin's great strengths: making something memorable, and beautiful, out of something otherwise unutterably awful.

 

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