Cleaving Larkin

Letter to Kingsley Amis
3 January 1982

as for plath—you should realize
that i don’t read—any new books
except the ones—i’m sent to review
i’ve reviewed s.p.—for poetry review
coerced by my chum—andrew motion
saying more or less—that she thought
madness would pay—found she could
and then fell—face down into it
of course—one doesn’t know
how much—of a life
ted led her—or she him
nasty to think—WE SHANT EVER KNOW
because by the time—ted dies
we shall be—yaaaaghgh leggt
of course—she could write
in a yankish way—heavily aided
by roget’s thesaurus—like dylan
but until sheg shag—got onto
the barmy stunt—she hadn’t
anything to say […]

—Philip Larkin, Selected Letters
of Philip Larkin, (1940-1982),
ed. Anthony Thwaite, London:
Faber and Faber, 1992

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