The Collected Poems of Philip Larkin brings together what may be the most important body of poetry written in the post-World War II period.1 The size of the volume comes as something of a surprise, however. Larkin, who died in 1985 at the age of sixty-three, published four slender books in his lifetime (the longest was forty-eight pages): The North Ship (1945), The Less Deceived (1955), The Whitsun Weddings (1964), and High Windows (1974). Anthony Thwaite, the editor of the Collected Poems and one of the executors of Larkin’s estate, has brought forth a volume containing 242 poems—172 in a first section (“Poems 1946-83”) containing all of what Thwaite considers Larkin’s mature work (omitting, astonishingly, The...

 

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