Born in Coventry in 1922, Philip Larkin was exposed to American jazz in childhood & later wrote jazz reviews for the Daily Telegraph, studied literature at Oxford, became a librarian (for 30 years at the University of Hull), never married, refused the Laureateship, and died in 1985.
Larkin & the Movement:
Larkin & friends including Kingsley Amis & Thom Gunn came up in the 1950s and became known as the Movement -- poets who wrote about daily life in dreary postwar England in unsentimental, commonplace language, often using rhyme & traditional poetic forms.
Larkin as poet:
Philip Larkins poems are spare & lovely artifacts of language, often colloquial & full of 4-letter words, which carry pessimism, despair, decay & a pervading fatalism.
Books by Philip Larkin:
Begin, of course with Larkins poems, among which you will find This Be the Verse (They fuck you up, your mum and dad...) and Aubade (I work all day, and get half-drunk at night...)
- Collected Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989)
- Selected Letters of Philip Larkin (ed. Anthony Thwaite, Faber & Faber, 1999)
- Required Writing: Miscellaneous Pieces 1955 - 1982 (Poets on Poetry series, University of Michigan Press, 1983)
- Further Requirements: Interviews, Broadcasts, Statements and Book Reviews 1955 - 1982 (University of Michigan Press, 2003)
- A Girl in Winter (reprint of 1947 novel, Overlook Press, 2003)
- Larkins Jazz: Essays and Reviews 1940 - 1984 (Continuum Publishing Group reprint, 2001)