And Yet

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September 2004

Nomination: And Yet [April 1948]

It was outside Larkin’s then lodgings in College Street Leicester that Don Lee revealed to the thirty or so walkers this verse found among papers in the Brynmor Jones Library but, so far, unpublished. Larkin’s father, Sydney, died not unexpectedly of cancer in March 1948, an event thought now to be also a turning-point in his son Philip’s writing career. From here, his mature writing style becomes noticeably the voice now established as Larkin. ‘An April Sunday’, in the collected poems of 1987, has become latterly to be recognised as perhaps the first consistent example of it. This however, is different in that it reveals an unusually direct commentary on the father’s attitudes bequeathed to his son and the controlled anger returned.

In the week following the Leicester Walk, the poem and its discovery featured in several stories in the UK National Press and on BBC Radio 4.

This poem and more besides will be published by Faber in October 2004 as The Unpublished Early Poems and Juvenilia of Philip Larkin, edited and introduced by A T Tolley.

David Rees

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