Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Philip Larkin: World-famous poet that Belfast forgot

Poet Philip Larkin (1922 - 1985) at the memorial service for Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman at Westminster Abbey, London, 29th June 1984

No major events are being held in Belfast to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of Philip Larkin — despite the fact that the poet wrote many of his most famous works while living in the city.

Next week marks the 25th anniversary of the death of one of the 20th century’s greatest poets.

It was while working at Queen’s University that Larkin wrote most of his famous collection of poems, The Less Deceived.

The anniversary of his death is being commemorated in Hull, where he lived most of his life, with a series of events. A new bronze statue commissioned by the Philip Larkin Society will be unveiled there on the anniversary of his death, December 2.

Larkin enthusiasts have questioned why Queen’s University, where he worked as a librarian, is not doing more to celebrate one of the 20th century’s greatest poets.

Professor Graham Chesters, chair of Larkin25, who worked at Queen’s in the 1970s, said in conversations with Larkin he learned how he relished the time he lived in his attic rooms in Elmwood Avenue and how Belfast gave him the best writing conditions he had ever had.

Professor Chesters said it was a shame that no major events were planned for the city.

A spokeswoman for QUB said: “The McClay Library at Queen’s has organised a small display to mark the 25th anniversary of Philip Larkin’s death.”

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