On June 8th 2015 the Philip Larkin Society presented a Philip Larkin Study Day for the Yorkshire and Humber regions of the University of The Third Age (U3A) at the Lawns Centre in Cottingham. About 60 U3A members attended and heard talks from James Booth, Philip Pullen and Belinda Hakes.
Hazel Ward, of Swanland U3A introduces the speakers
James began the day with a presentation entitled ‘Philip Larkin: Living for Others’, which drew on the themes of his recent biography of Larkin and focused on the very different versions of the man provided by the women with whom he was romantically involved, his friends and university colleagues.
In a talk entitled ‘Dearest Old Creature’ Philip explored the life of Larkin’s mother, Eva, based largely on his research into the extensive correspondence she had with her son and on what the letters tell us about the importance of Larkin’s relationship with his mother.
‘When I see a couple of kids…’ examined the ways in which Larkin’s poetry has featured in the sixth form curricula over the past three decades. Belinda outlined some of the challenges this has presented to teachers and the ways in which the ‘teaching and learning’ of Larkin has impacted on young minds.
The day was a great success and led to some lively and thoughtful discussion – and, without doubt, an enhanced interest in Larkin for many of those who attended.