Ian Smith [+]
Writer, Broadcaster and Musician
Larkin grows up in Coventry, and aspires to cultural significance while feeling marginalised and disenfranchised. Poetry and jazz offer him an inter-related sense of the expressive and even emancipatory potential of the arts. Literature becomes his academic subject. This offers more than a possible career in either writing or teaching. At that time, academic English was the only forum in British intellectual life where connections were made between contemporary society and an eclectic set of intellectual ideas ranging from cultural history through anthropology, psychoanalysis, and beyond. Nevertheless, and ironically for a great poet, it was music that was the emotional and spiritual Jacob’s Ladder. Jazz was the art that “sent” him somewhere above and beyond his oppressive surroundings.