Thursday, April 30, 2009

Philip Larkin on Plath/Hughes

Philip Larkin on Plath/Hughes

“I see her as a kind
of Hammer Films poet”
—Philip Larkin
Letter to Judy Egerton
10 June 1960

Sylvia Plath—lonely in her flat
And me—lonely librarian at Hull
Mulling about the stacks—doing deskwork
She and I—had something in common

We both believed—in “Pwetry”
As Kingsley used to call it—but there
Just wasn’t enough good poetry
To go around—so I quit writing

Plath, of course—was good at it
In a Yankish way—carrying around her
Rohget’s Thesaurus—but until Sheg Shay
Got into the balmy stunt—nothing to say

Plath began saying—more or less
That she thought—madness would pay
And found out—she could do it well
But then she—fell face down into it

Personally I think—the only things
One can do—about Literature are
Writing it, reading it—publishing it
The rest—is a waste of time

Ted Hughes—as Poet Laureate
I suppose—he’ll do the job all right
Except for writing anything readable
His Mytholmroyd crap—puts me to sleep

We had the—Old Crow over at Hull
Recently looking—like a Christmas present
From Easter Island—he’s all right
I suppose—when not reading

At a recent—literature festival
A woman shrieked—and vomited during
A Ted Hughes reading—I must say I’ve never
Felt like shrieking—vomiting maybe tho

Did you know—Auden got a rectal fissure
From being buggered—by a sailor & had to
Have an operation?—“Letter to a Wound”*
People take the fun—out of life don’t they?

*Part of Auden’s The Orators (1932)

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