In his introduction to the collected poems of Philip Larkin, whom he considers a great poet, Anthony Thwaite brings out that Larkin's reputation began with the publication of The Less Deceived, to be followed by The Whitsun Weddings and High Windows, books of fewer than fifty poems. I recall my joy at finding The Less Deceived, in a bookstore at Southern Methodist University, invigorated by a unique voice and colloquial rhythms in formal verse. The poem TOADS begins:
What should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?
The Less Deceived
Thwaite writes that after High Windows Larkin published only eight poems.
My copies of The Less Deceived and The Whitsun Weddings, bought in the sixties, were remaindered, evidence of our culture's dismissal of even exceptional poetry.
Neva Herrington is a poet and former educator. She is currently working on a new book of poetry, a collection of short stories, and her memoir. Her inspiration comes from her own experience and the work of other poets.