Phillip Larkin

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Philip Arthur Larkin was born on August 9, 1922, in Coventry. He was the second child, and only son, of Sydney and Eva Larkin. Sydney Larkin was City Treasurer between the years 1922-44. Larkin's sister, some ten years his senior, was called Catherine, but was known as Kitty.

He attended the City's King Henry VIII School between 1930 and 1940, and made regular contributions to the school magazine, The Coventrian, which, between 1939 and 1940, he also helped to edit .

After leaving King Henry VIII, he went to St. John's College, Oxford, and despite the war (Larkin had failed his army medical because of his poor eyesight), was able to complete his degree without interruption, graduating in 1943 with First Class Honours in English. His closest friends at Oxford were Kingsley Amis and Bruce Montgomery.

The first of his poems to be published in a national weekly was 'Ultimatum', which appeared in the Listener, November 28, 1940. Then in June 1943, three of his poems were published in Oxford Poetry (1942-43) . These were 'A Stone Church Damaged By A Bomb', 'Mythological Introduction', and 'I dreamed of an out-thrust arm of land'.

After graduating, Larkin lived with his parents for a while, before being appointed Librarian at Wellington, Shropshire, in November of 1943. Here, he studied to qualify as a professional librarian, but continued to write and publish. In 1945, ten of his poems, which later that year would be included in The North Ship, appeared in Poetry from Oxford in Wartime.

Two novels, Jill and A Girl in Winter were published in 1946 and 1947 respectively.

In 1946, Larkin became assistant Librarian at the University College of Leicester. He completed his professional studies and became an Associate of the Library Association in 1949. In October 1950, he became Sub-Librarian at Queen's University, Belfast. It was in Belfast that he applied fresh vigour to his poetry activities, and, in 1951, had a small collection, XX Poems, privately...