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  #41  
Unread 04-05-2021, 04:30 AM
Yves S L Yves S L is offline
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Let us say that Larkin is writing in an closed tradition of English white males, so we can skip the Nazi associations, and the flagrant racism of his later life, as we can safely assume any folk whose emotions might be harmed by the things he said and done while alive are just going to avoid his writings, because who wants to read stuff written by someone who severly hates people like you.

Then, Conny, I do not see any contradiction between him having skill in arranging words in patterns, and he having a generally bad character which often expresses itself in negative emotions that harm himself and other people. If people prioritise his skill in arranging words in patterns versus the negative emotions he often expressed, then the people consider the skill of arranging words in pattern as more important than say living a life of positive emotions; but then I do not see the contradiction, only a choice of what folk consider most important, most of value.

For me personally, real life contains infinitely more beauty than any words arranged by any man or woman, so I prioritise differently: if a some verse does not add to my life, then people insisting on its value makes no difference to me personally, but then other folk are free to choose what verses best harmonizes with their own thoughts and emotions and life.

I can see the skill levels in how Larkin rearranges words, but I can take or leave it.
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  #42  
Unread 04-05-2021, 04:58 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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What conny said. Larkin's poetry is misunderstood. He was a flawed human being who tried to reach for perfection in his poetry. Poetry which reveals a witty, lonely, compassionate realist, aware of his flaws and on a constant search for the ineffable in the grime.

What is the "closed tradition of English white males"? It's just a meaningless phrase.

"we can safely assume any folk whose emotions might be harmed by the things he said and done while alive are just going to avoid his writings". Larkin wrote some racist doggerel in private letters to shock his friends when he was drunk. Not very nice at all. But what makes you so confident that you can speak for millions of readers and assert that none of them would be capable of separating the art from the artist. In life we say and do things we might regret, especially if alcoholism is involved. Pride and stubbornness may stop us from admitting that we regret it. But art is where an artist shows what they want to be eternal.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 04-05-2021 at 05:01 AM.
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  #43  
Unread 04-05-2021, 05:07 AM
conny conny is offline
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we know already that lots of people don't like him, but like/dislike is really not the point. he's technically brilliant. a bad character? well maybe.
i'd rather say he was a flawed, even troubled, human being- for reasons already mentioned.
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  #44  
Unread 04-05-2021, 05:20 AM
conny conny is offline
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sorry, cross posted. yes, Mark. i totally agree.

what does bother me about Larkin is the conspicuous lack of WW2
in his oeuvre. i mean, he was born in 1922. Coventry gets smashed
to pieces by the Luftwaffe, but not a word about it ? for me that's the elephant in the room. not the porn or the booze.
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  #45  
Unread 04-05-2021, 05:26 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is online now
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His technique is fine, there is no question of that. But its fineness rests in a very small, enclosed field of technique that for me is limiting more than sublime. It's a style (not a sentiment, or an outlook) that throws out more than it takes in; again, language is nothing but a tool for Larkin, and I want it to be so much more.
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  #46  
Unread 04-05-2021, 05:39 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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"a very small, enclosed field of technique that for me is limiting more than sublime"

"It's a style...that throws out more than it takes in"

"language is nothing but a tool for Larkin and I want it to be so much more"

It's hard to argue with someone who's being so vague.
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  #47  
Unread 04-05-2021, 06:19 AM
E. Shaun Russell E. Shaun Russell is offline
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For a thread that started off about an April Fool's joke, this has certainly devolved into a poor man's "Musing on Mastery" thread.

You can like Larkin, or you can not like Larkin, but I simply don't understand the need to truss those opinions up in quasi-sophisticated justifications. No one says anyone has to like a particular poet (author, musician, artist etc.), but that like or dislike doesn't have to be reasoned out at length. It's tedious, unproductive, and frankly a little tawdry at this point.
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  #48  
Unread 04-05-2021, 06:38 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Probably wise words, Shaun. And my last post was a little snippy, Cameron. Sorry about that. Tedious, unproductive and tawdry are a pretty good description of my Easter Monday afternoon so far. No need to bring it to the Sphere.

Time to go for that walk.
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  #49  
Unread 04-05-2021, 06:47 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McDonnell View Post
Probably wise words, Shaun. And my last post was a little snippy, Cameron. Sorry about that. Tedious, unproductive and tawdry are a pretty good description of my Easter Monday afternoon so far. No need to bring it to the Sphere.

Time to go for that walk.

Mark, aesthetic disagreement is just that; no offense taken. I'm sorry about your Easter Monday, I hope the rest of the week picks up for you.
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  #50  
Unread 04-05-2021, 06:52 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Oh, it's been OK really. It was more of a joke. Right. Off to swagger the nut strewn roads!
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