Published: 04 October 2010

Poet Philip Larkin


Poet Philip Larkin died 25 years ago this year, and his Lichfield connections will be explored in a talk to be given by town clerk, Peter Young, at the Guildhall on Wednesday 20 October.

Although Larkin is usually associated with Hull, his family roots were in Lichfield. In one of his poems Larkin famously describes what your 'mum and dad' do to you, so it is perhaps worth noting that both his mother and father are now safely buried in St Michael's churchyard. Philip Larkin lived briefly in Lichfield during the war when his family left Coventry after the blitz of 1940 and it was in Lichfield that he wrote some of his first poetry.

"I came across Larkin when I was studying English at Hull in the mid 1970's", said Peter Young. "With Larkin being the University Librarian his poetry was pretty much compulsory - and it intrigued me - even though I didn't like it very much at the time. Later, when I came to Lichfield, I discovered the Larkin connections, including a letter sent by Larkin to the Council, and that's when my fascination and appreciation grew. So the talk will be about those connections with Lichfield, with a bit of my own commentary along the way."

Larkin was not greatly enamoured with Lichfield, and his first letter from Lichfield in December 1940 ends with, 'God, this place is dull'. "Hopefully my talk about Larkin and Lichfield won't be quite so dull!" added Peter Young.

The talk is organised through Lichfield Speakers' Corner group and will take place at the Guildhall at 7.30pm on Wednesday 20 October. Admission is FREE.