Re-discovering Philip Larkin through word, image and jazz.

the poet Philip Larkin holds a drink and smiles.

A rare smiling image of English poet Philip Larkin.

My old copy of The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin, hidden on the bookshelf for years, was pulled out for a nostalgic read the other day after an intriguing documentary about the poet on BBC4 earlier this week. In the Whitsun Weddings collection, in the poem For Sidney Bechet, the poet describes (earlier era) jazz music as falling upon him,

‘Like an enormous yes’ and refers to it as

‘the natural noise of good, / Scattering long-haired grief and scored pity.’

While commonly known for a somewhat melancholic approach to life, this does not sound like a person who has no time for passion. It was news to me too that alongside his poetry, Larkin had also made significant literary and journalistic contributions to critiquing Jazz music such as the perhaps controversial (maybe just honest) All What Jazz.

The television documentary revealed even more interesting aspects of Larkin’s artistic dimensions, that included skill with a camera as well as with the poetic word. Some of his images are black and white with a haunting or melancholy quality, reflected in his poetry too, such as Home is so Sad.

Yet much of Larkin’s photographic work is also personal and full of emotion like the multiple shots of intimate friends, male and female, with whom he shared his life, albeit within certain strong constraints and clear boundaries, evident in the ending of Talking in Bed,

‘Nothing shows why / At this unique distance from isolation / It becomes still more difficult to find / Words at once true and kind, / Or not untrue and not unkind.

More surprisingly, a significant number of the photographic portraits are of himself, taken with the delayed shutter function of his high-tech Rollieflex camera. The original ‘King of the Selfie’, Philip Larkin was a complex, intense human being whose work continues to intrigue, inspire and invite debate. Some of his photos have been published in The Importance of Elsewhere 2015.

image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/norfolkodyssey/1426630717

 

 

Advertisements

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Candia
    Sep 27, 2017 @ 20:49:25

    Just watched the documentary after reading your post!
    Thanks for following me!

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Riot Material

Art. Word. Thought.

interests of a quiet taoist

a friendly ordinary human & philosophical nobody. interested in the meaningful, nature of pragmatic virtue & better environments.

The Bibliophagist

Reviewing young adult, new adult, and romance since 2013.

Pankaj Giri

An author by chance

Poems-For-All

Scattered like seeds.

Lance Sheridan

~Plaited Poems~

The Waltham Forest Poetry Competition (Poets' Corner)

New national and local poetry competition

Women of Words

Hull's spoken word performance space with an all-female cast

Cyberwit.net

PUBLISHER OF WORLD POETRY, FICTION & ART

Bouquets & Brickbats

Theatre - Film - Comedy - Food

Disappointed Idealist

Ranting from the chalkface

Healing Journey

Select Blog and then scroll down the page to view

(CALIATH)

A land of ineptitude.

Angela Prendergast

Published Author Site: Prose Poetry Collection

A Writer's Soul

"Diving into a writers soul is discovering the broken treasure and beautiful mysteries that make you gasp for air."

renegade7x

Natalia's space

ALEX MARKOVICH

Author, scriptwriter, theater director

O C E A N

dare to surf on phrenetic waves..

Flavor Smasher

The ultimate place for smashing flavors

Positive Kate's Books

Obsessed with reading

Smtfhw's Travels

Travel, Food, Motorsports, Photography, Writing... My Life in a Blog

WilliWash

A Magazine That Delves Into All Things LIFE.

Strictly Boardroom

Non Executive Director & Trustee Opportunities

The Bangor Literary Journal

Poetry, Flash Fiction, Art and Photography

Letters From Lady Nakatomi

on writing poetry & other projects

Irish in the American Civil War

Exploring Irish Emigration in the 19th Century United States

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Fiction that's Lovely, Dark and Deep

Create a Life you Love

It's those who prioritise enjoying life, that enjoy life!

The Boiler

a journal of new literature

Emma Geen

Author & Lecturer

Big Cheshire Grin

Video Game Experiences Worth Writing About

Deep Down Arts and Wellbeing

Creativity: Supporting Mental Health.

The Floating Thoughts

thoughts of yours & thoughts of ours...would create an unforgettable memoir !!!

Staffan Nöteberg's blog

Brainmoda | Same brain - more astute usage

Sea sores

Nick J Wood— Brightonian writer. My book is entitled Sea sores.

Urban Antenna

Broadcasting New Music

Frank Solanki

If you want to be a hero well just follow me

James Meredith

short stories : poetry : theatre : journalism

mistakenforarealpoet

odd posts from an occasional poet (or vice versa)

The Cabinet of Heed

literary journal

%d bloggers like this: