Good news for Larkinites as the new issue (no. 25) of About Larkin arrives, filling the Larkin-news-shaped gap in the market for readers of Larkin everywhere. In between descriptions of a ‘Larkin Sunday Morning Trail’ in Warwick, the annual Hull sixth-form Larkin study day, and the latest state of play in the quest for the British Rail poster that inspired ‘Sunny Prestatyn’ (‘Larkin’s “Sunny Prestatyn” seems to have no actual poster as its subject’) we find seven pages by Susannah Tarbush on ‘From Willow Gables to “Aubade”: Penelope Scott Stokes and Philip Larkin: Part 1’. Penelope Scott Stokes was asked to the poet’s room in
August again, and it is a year again
Since I poured the hot toss into your arse.
A footnote to ‘arse’ reads ‘Larkin originally wrote “into your mouth”’. Consider the plangency of the repeated ‘again’, underscoring the pathos of the lamented one-off tossing. Consider too the subtle vocalic music of ‘pour’, ‘hot’, ‘toss’, ‘your’, ‘arse’. The poem continues, ‘Choking, I pull open a door’, ingeniously inverting any hint of sexual violence by transferring any possible choking onto the crestfallen poet. A final quatrain deals with some sadly unwanted sandwiches prepared for the speaker by his well-intentioned but less than expert-sandwich-making loved ones.
If you think I’m making this up, first of all shame on you, and second follow this link to the magazine website and order a copy for yourself.
georgiasam: pouring hot toss in your brain almost daily since 2005.