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Philip Larkin

A memorial stone for poet and writer Philip Arthur Larkin, C.H., C.B.E., was unveiled in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey on 2nd December 2016. Dr Anthony Thwaite, President of the Philip Larkin Society, and Professor Edwin Dawes unveiled the stone, which is just to the south of Chaucer's monument and adjoins Anthony Trollope's stone. It is of Purbeck Down vein marble and was cut by Martin Jennings. The inscription reads:

PHILIP LARKIN
1922-1985
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love

The quote comes from his poem An Arundel Tomb.

He was born on 9th August 1922 in Coventry, the son of Sydney and Eva Larkin, and was educated in his home town and at Oxford. Some of his poems were included in Oxford Poetry and Poetry from Oxford in wartime. Due to poor eyesight he was not able to serve during the war. Shortly after Oxford he published two novels and became a professional librarian. Four collections of poetry made him one of the most acclaimed poets of the 20th century in England. The Whitsun Wedding sealed his reputation and High Windows was the last book of poems published during his life time. He was offered the post of Poet Laureate but turned it down. In 1985 he was appointed a Companion of Honour. Among several posts he was Hon. Fellow of St John's College, Oxford, a member of the British Library board and jazz correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. He died on 2nd December 1985 and is buried at Cottingham near Hull. A memorial service was held at the Abbey on 14th February 1986.

Further reading

The Philip Larkin Society

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Philip Larkin, a writer's life by A. Motion, 1993

Selected letters 1940-1985 by Philip Larkin ed. by A. Thwaite, 1992

Philip Larkin collected poems edited by A. Thwaite, 1988

There is a statue of Larkin at Hull station

Order of Service In Memory of Philip Arthur Larkin CH, CBE, 1922-1985 (PDF, 1108KB)

Abbey honours Philip Larkin with Poets’ Corner memorial

Field

Writer; poet; novelist

Location

South Transept; Poets' Corner

Memorial Type

Stone

Material Type

Marble

Philip Larkin
Philip Larkin memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2018 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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