Ramblings & ephemera

James Dickey on Philip Larkin

From Franklin Ashley’s interview of James Dickey in “The Art of Poetry No. 20” (The Paris Review: Spring 1976, No. 65):

INTERVIEWER: We’ve talked a good deal about American poets, but English poets are always on the scene; some critics contend that the best contemporary English poet is Philip Larkin.

DICKEY: Oh, my Lord. Philip Larkin is a small kind of vers de société writer. He’s one of these Englishmen of the welfare state who write self-effacing poems about how much he hates his record collection. That’s not what we need. We need something that will affirm the basic possibility. This self-effacing stuff is so goddamned easy, it’s tiresome.

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