Philip Larkin

We’d like to recommend to students of English in particular (but also anyone else who might be culturally-inclined and interested, of course) a selection of recent TV programme recordings taking various aspects of poetry as their subject matter, available to view via our eStream online resource.

Firstly, ‘Return to Larkinland’, in which the writer and critic AN Wilson revisits the life and work of poet Philip Larkin, featuring archive recordings of readings of his poems by Larkin himself, and further clips of the man in his own words. The fact that Wilson knew Larkin personally allows him to provide a fascinating depth of anecdotal detail into his subject, including his foibles and flaws, ultimately revealing an engaging portrait of the poet and the inspiration behind his art, presenting him if not as a modernist then certainly a modern poet, very much of his time and resonating since.

‘Ted Hughes: Stronger Than Death’ is a documentary exploring one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, focusing on how his life story influenced his work and vision, whilst another programme features contemporary poets Simon Armitage and Tony Harrison – the latter of whom is also a playwright and whose uncompromising example has inspired the likes of Armitage and other younger writers in finding their voices – in conversation about their craft and careers.

Each of these poets’ work is available as part of the college libraries’ collection, in both physical and electronic book format, and can be found via a search of our Heritage catalogue.

Also, ‘Rhymes, Rock & Revolution: The Story of Performance Poetry’ explores how, since Allen Ginsberg performed at the Royal Albert Hall 50 years ago and his example inspired young musicians such as The Beatles, the edges between performance poetry and popular music have become blurred.

Finally, a reminder of an earlier programme, related to the above – ‘Evidently… John Cooper Clarke’, which features the eminent ‘punk poet’ and cultural icon whose performance is central to his art, and details his influence on contemporary culture over four decades.

Please enjoy any or all of these visual resources, and remember they and our other electronic amenities are available to access 24/7, in and outside of college.