Philip Arthur Larkin is buried in the Cottingham Municipal Cemetery,
Eppleworth Road, Cottingham, Hull, England. (plot 81).
Gravestone of Philip Larkin
Photograph by James L Orwin
(The Larkin Society)
was educated at King Henry VIII School Coventry and St. John's College
Oxford. While at Oxford he met fellow writer Kingsley Amis and they two
became close friends; both writers were later associated with the
Movement. After university, Larkin worked as a librarian in
Shropshire, Leicester and Belfast before moving to Hull in 1955 where he
was appointed as Head Librarian at the
university's Brynmor Jones
He remained in Hull until his
death in 1985 and it provided the setting for many of his best known poems
including Here, Toads and The Whitsun
Weddings. Larkin originally lived in a rented flat at 32, Pearson
Park and later moved into his own house at 105, Newland Park, Cottingham Road - just opposite the university.
Larkin's first mature book of poetry (not
including the Yeats influenced The North Ship) was The Less Deceived
which was published in 1955 by the Marvell Press - a small, independent
Hull-based publisher. His subsequent collections: The Whitsun Weddings
(1964) and High Windows (1974) were published by Faber and Faber.
Larkin claimed that it was reading the poems of
Thomas Hardy that enabled him to break away from Yeats and develop
his own unique voice. Early in his career he also wrote two novels:
Jill (1946) and Girl in Winter (1947).
Auden once asked Larkin: 'Do you like living in Hull?' to which Larkin
replied in characteristically gloomy fashion: 'I don't suppose I'm
unhappier there than I should be any where else.'
From an early age Larkin
was obsessed by his own mortality and many of his poems are about death
- including his late (ironically entitled) masterpiece Aubade.
Larkin gave the impression of being a confirmed bachelor - reinforced by
the lines 'Sexual intercourse began/ In nineteen sixty-three/ (Which was
rather late for me)' from his poem Annus Mirabilis - but the
reality was more complex. At one time he was involved with three women:
Monica Jones - who he'd met in Leicester and two of his colleagues from
Hull: Maeve Brennan and his secretary.