Tuesday, August 21, 2012

News at Eleven: "Reprehensibly perfect" is itself perfect,

a miming of criticism that is also a form of self-congratulation. So too are those careful, mock-hesitant line breaks at "if" and "a life." Behind the poem we intuit a Philip Larkin who has just these feelings, or at least wouldn't disavow them, and another Larkin who is broaching them, performing them, fully aware of the poem's crisscrossing insights and illusions, watching the man who is so anxious not to be fooled caught in the business of fooling himself.

from The Nation: The Reaches of Stringency: On Philip Larkin


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