2013 AGM Distinguished Guest Lecture:
Biography and Poetry: Philip Larkin

This year, for the first time, we are making available an mp3 audio recording of the Distinguished Guest Lecture. Our speaker was Professor Archie Burnett, editor of Philip Larkin: The Complete Poems; his title, ‘Biography and Poetry: Philip Larkin’.


Here, produced by Classlane Media, and scored by East Yorkshire based composer Louise Bennett, was commissioned by Larkin25 as part of the season of events being launched to mark the 25th anniversary of Larkin’s death on 2nd December 1985. Featuring a contemplative reading from Hull-born, multi BAFTA winning, twice Oscar nominated actor Sir Tom Courtenay, the film revisits the land- and cityscapes (and their populations) that inspired Larkin almost half a century before.

Here is a contemporary cinematic interpretation of Larkin’s poem of the same name, which depicts a journey east “from rich industrial shadows” through an initially bleak but increasingly fecund rural landscape and on to a large and bustling town, whose inhabitants (and their lives) are brought into sharp focus in uncompromising but affectionately honest terms before the journey continues eastwards beyond the town, to where “Ends the land suddenly” in an ethereal and unattainable “unfenced existence”.

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