Monday 14 April 2008

Hermit poets

This was a hermit of a blog, since the name change no one could access it...have sent the new address to a couple of people who may read it from time to time. The writing feels more purposeful that way.

Shall have to write a progress report this week - the blog is the source.

Today, a lot of Larkin about. Found the poem I want to write about for the short course -

They fuck you up, your mum and dad
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

There are two more stanzas. The final line is And don't have any kids yourself, in the biographies they mention that Larkin did not like children. The name of the poem is This Be The Verse, it sounds like a quote, something Christian maybe - I'm not familiar with it. Shall try Peter and if he does not know where it comes from, then maybe my friends at the Quotations website.

I have to write 400 words about it. That should not be too hard. And copy the whole thing. Am tempted to learn it by heart.

He wrote it in April 1971. He died in '85. He was never married, though he had what sounds like a long-term relationship with a woman who was a professor of literature.

He needed time on his own, and suffered from shyness to the point where it might almost be considered a social phobia. He turned down the Poet Laureate-ship when it was offered for that reason - he could not bear to appear in public. Officially it was because he stammered. He managed to record himself reading the poems anyway, so how bad could it be? I think it was all the dancing bear stuff he would have hated.

Some other poets suffered similarly: Szymborska is described as a recluse. I've just read about the novelist Sigrid Undset (Nobel 1949), who was the same - giving only a brief Nobel acceptance speech, of a few lines.

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