David Blackburn

Larkin Hour

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I doubt that Philip Larkin has ever been out of fashion, but after the 25th anniversary of his death and the publication of his letters to Monica Jones – beautifully reviewed for the Spectator by Philip Hensher – his star is well and truly back in the ascendant.

T.S. Eliot, who was hardly renowned for generosity of spirit, wrote that Larkin made ‘words do what he wanted’ - a singular talent that gave Larkin broad appeal, which, for me, is his greatest strength. From the savage irreverence of This Be The Verse to the delicacy of High Windows, Larkin cuts it with both the intelligentsia and the chatterati. To prove the point, Radio 4 broadcast David Walliams and Andrew Motion waxing on all things Larkin. What’s not to like?