Sunday, June 24, 2007

Larkin on Graves

To Anthony Thwaite
27 March 1962
The University of Hull, The Library

Dear Anthony,

Glad you can use ODJB.* As regards the Graves,** poetry reviewing, and particularly Graves' poetry reviewing, is a nightmare from which I have pretty well succeeded in struggling to awake from, and so, although it would no doubt give me a great deal of pleasure to take a few socks at him (I really think I dislike him more than ever I disliked Dylan), it would apart from being bad for my immortal part suggest to other literary editors that I was back in the game and lead to a host of offers that would have to be refused. Knitting I loved, and next to knitting, nothing as I believe one of the Beat poets remarked somewhere.

Incidentally, talking about Graves, the current issue of SHENANDOAH is devoted to him, and contains some interesting pieces, notably one by Colin Wilson who points out the growing similarity between Yeats and Graves as vatic old fakers, each with a sacred book (A VISION and THE WHITE GODDESS). I must say I would sooner attack him on a homelier plane--if he says publicly just once more that he has a large family to support, I shall write to the papers asking whose fault he thinks that is.

Yours ever,

*Larkin's review of The Story of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band by H. O. Brunner appeared in the Listener on 31 May 1962. Thwaite had recently been appointed literary editor of the magazine.

**Robert Graves's New Poems, 1962..
-from Selected Letters of Philip Larkin 1940-1985 edited by Anthony Thwaite (London: Faber and Faber, 1992.) p. 341-342.

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