Compcompare the Ways in Which Larkin and Abse Write About Place.

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  • Topic: Philip Larkin, Dannie Abse, The Movement
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Compare the ways in which Larkin and Abse write about place. You must include detailed critical discussion of at least two poems by Larkin in your response. In timed conditions
Gemma N

Larkin and Abse both write about places in a very different, very unique style. One the one hand Larkin talks about the places of his past and how they are no longer accessible; the changing of a beautiful, unspoilt place to something short of an eyesore; a pace he is in but does not feel he belongs and even places within his mind. Alternatively Abse talks longingly of the places he once lived in, and how upsetting it is to find they are no longer the same. Some examples of the copious amount to choose from include Here, Mr Bleaney and Sunny Prestalyn, as well as Returning to Cardiff.

Firstly, the more obvious of Larkin’s poems when talking about place is here. Here is a sprawling, moving and often majestic poem that takes the reader on a strikingly visual journey through the countryside and town, before finally ending in the coast. Larkin’s frequent use of enjambment gives the poem a sense of continual movement, so in fact the reader questions where ‘Here’ actually is. The first word of the poem “Swerving” leads to an immediate physical sense of movement within the poem. However it is not the traditional vehicular movement, cars trains and other man made devices do not simply ‘swerve’. The movement in Here is immediately free and unrestrained as the “rich industrial shadows” are left behind. Larkin’s intention in this paragraph is to show the reader how much he appreciates this freedom, much unlike the suffocating city with its conformity. This freedom of movement however immediately contrasts with the “traffic all night north”, which momentarily stops the poem in its tracks, made clear by the following semi-colon which breaks up the line. However the poem restarts its free moving journey and now Larkin tells us of “fields/too thin and frayed to be called meadows” before...
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