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Philip Larkin's Poetry A Personal Response

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Phillip Larkin’s Poetry: A Personal Response 3

Phillip Larkin’s Poetry: A Personal Response

We live in a time of change. Financially, politically and environmentally, nothing is guaranteed. At such times, we must question the meaning of life and our place in this world. What will be our legacy? What, in the words of Philip Larkin, 'will survive of us'? In the poems on our course, Larkin explores the nature of change and the transience of life.

For this reason, I find his poetry thought-provoking and meaningful. He does not presume to have all the answers, but he does provide us with an honest and fascinating approach to the great questions, and balances suspicion and hope in a way I find both endearing and reassuring. I think that what I most admire about Larkin's work is his ability to couch these difficult philosophical ideas in simple, colloquial language.

Larkin hoped that 'people in pubs would talk about my poems'. I understand this to mean that he wanted his work to be accessible and for its themes to speak to everyone, not just intellectuals. I believe he succeeded in this. The honesty, the complex ideas framed in simple language, and the sheer beauty of his poems makes Larkin a poet whose work will stay with me long after I have finished my Leaving Cert studies.

'MCMIV' is a snapshot of a moment in time just before the world it portrays changes utterly. The men in the photo are queuing to enlist in the army and are 'Grinning as if it were all/ An...

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