The sixteenth of September, 2011: a scene-setting phrasemaker of the first echelon

A few insightful words from Martin Amis on Philip Larkin (whom Amis describes unerringly as “a novelist’s poet”):

Who else takes us, and takes us so often, from sunlit levity to mellifluous gloom? And let it be emphasised that Larkin is never ‘depressing’. Achieved art is quite incapable of lowering the spirits. If this were not so, each performance of King Lear would end in a Jonestown.

Quite so. That’s from Amis’s preface to his edition of Larkin’s Poems (Faber and Faber, 2011).


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