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Guilty Knowledge, Guilty PleasureThe Dirty Art of Poetry$
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William Logan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166867

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166867.001.0001

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Larkin’s Toads

Larkin’s Toads

(p.73) Larkin’s Toads
Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure

William Logan

Columbia University Press

This chapter reviews The Complete Poems, as thorough an edition of Philip Larkin's poetry as any reader will require. Those sated with the poems still have the poet's extranea—the two novels, the jazz reviews, the stray prose, and the letters. There is even some smutty schoolgirl fiction, a lumpish biography, and a shelf of academic criticism. Despite Larkin's lack of range—he rarely varied his tone; his métier was the portrait, the meditative lyric, the grumble—few poets could have written touching poems as Larkin did about renting (“Mr. Bleaney”), or retired racehorses (“At Grass”), or a vandalized holiday poster (“Sunny Prestatyn”), or salesmen (“Arrivals, Departures”).

Keywords:   poets, poetry, Philip Larkin, love, misanthrope, The Complete Poems, reviews

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