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The Complete Poems Hardcover – Mar 27 2012

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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: #414,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful Collection June 18 2012
By Steiner - Published on
Format: Hardcover
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
ALL of Larkins Poems Are Here. Aug. 28 2012
By Michael E. Murray MD - Published on
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 The addition of the unpublished poems gives further insight into Larkin's famous preoccupation with death.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 Leaving death aside, many of the unpublished poems are very funny.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
A Serious Book on Serious Earth Sept. 12 2012
By HJA - Published on
Format: Hardcover
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
Larkin explained July 10 2013
By Catherine McCallum - Published on
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
The Less Decieved and more June 10 2013
By MinnesotaMind - Published on
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.