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Monday, July 02, 2007

Jazz Mags

Describing a Ted Hughes poetry reading to Monica Jones, Philip Larkin recounts how a woman began to ‘shriek and vomit’. ‘I’ve never felt like shrieking’, he continues.

When Anthony Thwaite edited Larkin’s Selected Letters, the best gin-soaked and bed-ridden Monica could do by way of letters from Larkin was a couple of dozen retrieved from behind the sofa. But now it seems that there are 2000 of the things, some up to 27 pages long.

Having read the forensic lab-style descriptions of the discarded early fiction in Trouble at Willow Gables (‘The remaining fragments use blue ink interspersed with blue biro (with a brief reappearance of blue-black ink in 4a…’), and having just spent the weekend at a Philip Larkin conference, I think what the world needs now, to counterbalance the imminent unleashing of the letters to Monica, is a full analytic bibliography of Larkin’s jazz mags. What is the semen-based equivalent of ‘slightly foxed’? ‘Pages ten to twenty slightly jizzed, fourteen and fifteen stuck together.’


Mark Granier said...

Larkin could be quite forensic himself. How did that story go? When one of the (secretaries?) at the library found his cache of mags and asked him what they were for, I think his response was "To be wanked at or with." I've always thought that was very funny.

puthwuth said...

At, with or on.

Mark Granier said...

Ah, even better.