November 20, 1976
Philip Larkin would have been 91 today. In his honor, Joyce Carol Oates's review of his second novel, as originally published in The New Republic.
Never have so many written with such technical skill: this remark, as often an expression of frustration and dismay as of admiration, has become a commonplace of poetry criticism in the 1970s. Never, of course, have so many written. And published. And competed for a lamentably small audience: there are perhaps more writers than readers of poetry at the present time. In so diminished a sphere the consequences have been, and continue to be, predictable.