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Philip Larkin at 100

Writers reflect on the poet’s life, work and legacy, a century after his birth.

Ann Thwaite: Wordplay, friendship and sweet sadness: having Philip to stay

Julian Barnes: Larkin had a calm, clear voice – and in 1971, I felt he was speaking directly to me

Blake Morrison: His most memorable lines came from a search for wisdom and authenticity

Rachel Cooke: I know I sound slightly mad when I say it, but Philip Larkin saved my life

Andrew Motion: As a child, he stammered so badly he couldn’t even ask for a railway ticket

Daljit Nagra: What would he have made of my books being published alongside his?

Emily Berry: Few poets today would care, or dare, to put their mean sides so boldly on display

Rowan Williams: Perhaps we should think of him as a very unusual kind of love poet. Love doesn’t work for Larkin

Michael Henderson: His denunciations of jazz villains still leave readers honking with laughter

Margaret Drabble: Why spend one’s life in fear of death? Larkin asked the question but had no answer

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This article appears in the 27 Jul 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Summer Special