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July 2011

Nomination: Days [3 August 1953. From The Whitsun Weddings]

As Director of the Philip Larkin Centre I am always pleased to discover new writing that spins out from an appreciation of a Larkin poem, some call and response from across the decades. I was struck to find David Nicholls’ moving and best-selling novel One Day has the entire ‘Days’ as its epigraph. For me it is a wilfully cheerful poem. It sings of a simple take on life we all can share, and then takes a rueful look at the professionals, our lawyers and doctors sweeping on to the scene in their long coats to add complexity and so confuse us. The ‘Ah’ is such a touching note, a sigh from a poet looking out from that simplicity of the first verse and smiling as he gives us an image of professionals in the fields. The poem is raised above the sentimental, the answered opening question, while leaving us to see that what is sentimental might also be most true.

Martin Goodman

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