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The Complete Poems [Hardcover]

Philip Larkin , Archie Burnett

Price: CDN$ 43.61 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

March 27 2012

This entirely new edition brings together all of Philip Larkin’s poems. In addition to those that appear in Collected Poems (1988) and Early Poems and Juvenilia (2005), some unpublished pieces from Larkin’s typescripts and workbooks are included, as well as verse—by turns scurrilous, satirical, affectionate, and sentimental—that had been tucked away in his letters. 

For the first time, Larkin’s poems are given a comprehensive commentary. This draws critically upon, and substantially extends, the accumulated scholarship on Larkin, and covers closely relevant historical contexts, persons and places, allusions and echoes, and linguistic usage. Prominence is given to the poet’s comments on his own poems, which often outline the circumstances that gave rise to a poem or state what he was trying to achieve. Larkin often played down his literariness, but his poetry enrichingly alludes to and echoes the writings of many others; Archie Burnett’s commentary establishes him as a more complex and more literary poet than many readers have suspected.

Frequently Bought Together

The Complete Poems + Collected Poems
Price For Both: CDN$ 74.96

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 729 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (March 27 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374126968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374126964
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16.3 x 3.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 953 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #437,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Praise for The Complete Poems:


“[The Complete Poems] is a must-have for anyone who enjoys Larkin . . . Burnett’s notes offer a fascinating, compendious vade mecum into Larkin’s poetic world. Full of reassuring exactitude about variants, and extensive reference to the poet’s own comments on the work, they are most stimulating of all when they cite buried sources . . . A lot of thought as well as an enormous amount of research has clearly gone into this [volume].”

—Fiona Sampson, The Independent

“[Archie] Burnett presents a very different picture of Larkin from the one by which he came to be known; one that is far more literary, and occasionally far more amusing. A reader can now trace Larkin’s development from his allusive [early efforts] . . . to his more mature, better-known works.” —The Economist

“Apart from representing an unprecedented Larkin poetic storehouse, the other glory of The Complete Poems is Burnett’s dazzlingly detailed commentary . . . One of the chief pleasures . . . is tracing the emergence of one of English poetry’s most distinctive poetic voices . . . A landmark volume, a wonder-book of verse by one of the art form’s best practitioners of the last hundred years.” —Terry Kelly, The London Magazine

Praise for Philip Larkin:

“More often than any other English poet since the war, Larkin gave us lines that it is unlikely we’ll be able to forget.”Ian Hamilton, The Times (London)

“Larkin is resolute, forthright, witty, and gloomy. This is the man who famously said that deprivation was for him what daffodils were for Wordsworth. Yet surely the results of this life, in the shape of his poems, are gifts, not deprivations.”Donald Hall, The New Criterion

About the Author

Philip Larkin (1922-1985) grew up in Coventry, England. He was the best-loved poet of his generation and the recipient of innumerable honors, including the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

Archie Burnett is co-director of the Editorial Institute and professor of English at Boston University. He has edited the Oxford editions of The Poems of A. E. Housman and The Letters of A. E. Housman.


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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Collection June 18 2012
By Steiner - Published on Amazon.com
A beautifully published, well edited collection of Larkin's poetry. Arnie Burnett's editorial work has generated an exuisite volume, complete with incisive commentary on each poem, in addition to Larkin's original working notes. There are also a number of unpublised poems here, of varying quality. As to Larkin's corpus, it is quite clear that he continues to appear as one of Britain's major literary talents. Poems such as Hight Windows and Here have an enduring coldness and beauty, a beauty that refuses all sentiment. Larkin's disposition was, of course, strangely desolate, and hermetic. I can identify with his coldness, his collected reflections. I cannot always access his peculiar refusal to relate to others. His is a poetry that captures the failure of relating, as well as of belonging. His voice only penned a few poems, but they are among our greatest.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ALL of Larkins Poems Are Here. Aug. 28 2012
By Michael E. Murray MD - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This collection has the poems which have previously been unavailable in addition to all of Larkin's published poems. The latter part of the volume has extensive notes on sources. The addition of the unpublished poems gives further insight into Larkin's famous preoccupation with death. He does not seem to be concerned with the act of dying, the process which gives pause to most of us. He is afraid of the existential state of nonbeing which death entails. Leaving death aside, many of the unpublished poems are very funny.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Serious Book on Serious Earth Sept. 12 2012
By HJA - Published on Amazon.com
This complete collection of Larkin's Poetry served to remind, at least me, of the beauty of "unbullied" language, and how truly great of a poet Philip Larkin was. The book's commentary is a great way for lovers of Larkin to understand how Larkin composed his poems and, in some cases, how long it took him to be satisfied that a poem was complete (I think of "The Whitsun Weddings" which took, all told, almost three years to write [if you begin at the date of the occurrence]). The only think I would liked to have seen would have been a Table of Contents that listed all the poems and their respective pages rather than simply each book, his unpublished, and his incomplete poems; but the organization of the book is not so bad as to warrant removing a star.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Larkin explained July 10 2013
By Catherine McCallum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've always been ambivalent about Philip Larkin's place as Britain's greatest post-war poet, but this collection adds to the poems an extensive commentary which helps explain Larkin's pessimism and gloomy outlook. The poems of course stand alone, but the commentary helps in understanding Larkin as someone not entirely mired in discontent, who is reacting in a visceral and personal way to the more troubling circumstances of his life. There are some truly great poems here, and lovely, spare descriptive passages. To my mind, some of his best work remained unpublished in his lifetime and these poems can lead to a new appreciation of his work. Just don't read the book to cheer yourself up.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Less Decieved and more June 10 2013
By MinnesotaMind - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To my own surprise and embarrassment this was my first, real engagement with Larkin outside an anthologized poem or two like "Here."

I've been told that Larkin's style and topical interest varies a bit in quality from work to work; but the poems in this collection are simply stellar and revelatory. I can't think of another poet I've read recently who demonstrates such incredibly precise control and sumptuous taste in his word nuances. Perhaps Galway Kinnell maybe. But there ae asterisks and exclamation marks and "wows" written all over the margins of this book.

By way of example (and keep in mind, these are just isolated lines): Larkin renames a baby, "tightly folded bud," Spring is "fold of untaught flower, is race of water,/Is earth's most multiple, excited daughter," the past is "a valley cropped by fat neglected chances/that we insensately forbore to fleece," and skin as "Obedient daily dress."

Needless to say, these lines begin, form the body of, and end exquisite poems.

I can't wait to continue exploring more Larkin. There is a surprise at every linguistic turn.

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