Appendix: Setting Larkin to Jazz

Philip Larkin - Poetry, Politics, Love and Jazz - Ian Smith

Ian Smith [+-]
Writer, Broadcaster and Musician
Ian Smith has lectured on literature, film and cultural theory at the Universities of Oxford, Boston, Warwick, London, and Kingston. He has also worked as a professional jazz musician for many years. This musical work includes composing and performing settings of Larkin poems for BBC Radio 3; settings that formed part of the stage show “Larkin’s Jazz”, presented at UK literary and jazz festivals. He has published and broadcast regularly on literature, jazz, and cultural politics.His play, Blood Count, exploring the complex relationship and creative partnership of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2015 and 2016. His study of Harold Pinter, Pinter in the Theatre, is published by Nick Hern books (2005).


This chapter takes four settings of Larkin’s poems composed by Ian Smith for BBC 3, and uses them to discuss ways in which the music attempted to develop and exploit the use of jazz form in Larkin’s writing – a structural and formal debt that has had no critical examination hitherto.

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Smith, Ian. Appendix: Setting Larkin to Jazz. Philip Larkin - Poetry, Politics, Love and Jazz. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Mar 2024. ISBN 9781781798102. Date accessed: 28 Nov 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.36503. Mar 2024

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