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This article is taken from PN Review 277, Volume 50 Number 5, May - June 2024.

On Accidentally Finding a Handwritten Poem of Philip Larkin’s in a Book by Lawrence Durrell Philip Terry
When my father died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2004, he left behind an eclectic collection of books, accumulated over a lifetime, and twenty-four jars of marmalade, which my mother had made the day before. His assortment of Catalan books, which made the plank and brick bookshelf they were kept on sag precariously in the middle, and which contained over a thousand items – he was the founder of the Anglo-Catalan Association, and himself wrote books in Catalan – we donated to the Albert Sloman library at the University of Essex, where he had worked in the Department of Literature with Robert Lowell and John Barrell, after moving from Queen’s University Belfast in the early 1970s. The other books we mostly gave away, or sold to second-hand bookshops, or distributed around the family. Most of the poetry I kept for myself, and have been reading my way through ever since. And it’s probably no coincidence that it was shortly after this date that I started to write poetry, in a misguided attempt, I sometimes think, not to let go of my father. It was to be some years, eighteen to be precise, before I picked up his copy of Lawrence Durrell’s poems On Seeming To Presume (1948) from my office one afternoon and took it home to read in the evening. On opening it, later the same day, I found some loose leaf papers inside the dust jacket: a review of the book by H.A.L. Craig clipped from the Spectator of 4 March 1949, two poems in my father’s hand, ‘Ingleborough’ and ‘Roland’, one ...


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