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Lessways Least Scarce Among Paperback – 15 May 2012


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About the Author

Peter Larkin says of his autobiography: "I was born in the New Forest and spent my first 17 years only a few miles outside it, so that might account for something, both the proximity and the being outside. I decided I wanted to write about the age of 9, and aimed to write historical novels but wrote poems to while away the time until I was older. After Cambridge I did in fact write one long, semi-autobiographical novel (called In Place of Simon) which took me a number of years during the 70s but once having done it I realised it was mainly a poet's novel. It was never published though a few cyclostyled copies were produced, one of which has found its way into Cambridge University Library. My next novel didn't get beyond a series of 'interludes' within the narrative which I soon realised were more distinctive than any plot, and these became the germ of my first published poems, Enclosures, which came out in 1983. My writing has always operated between the margins of verse and prose, and this must reflect my early preoccupation with the novel, though concentrated sound and texture, internal half-rhyme or partial echo and word-permutation are basic to the fabric of what I write, however prosy in outline. My other concern has been with matters of landscape and ecology, often focussing on the predicament and analogical patterning of the woods and plantations which residually border our lives. Nearly all my working life has been spent as a librarian at Warwick University which has proved a wonderfully enabling scenario of attachments and detachments so far as my poetry goes. The prose character of much of my writing (though nearly always broken up into very short paragraphs, sometimes with verse tail-pieces) may also reflect my fascination with longer forms, with the possibility of exploring underlying phenomenological and theological 'arguments' in the mode of continuously noted variations and takes on 'outdoor' perception."

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