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End-of-the-line sense of freedom

By Philip_H
"Poetry, like prose, happens anywhere. Hull got its clearance on this from Andrew Marvell many years ago, and if that singular Member of Parliament would have little in common with today¬’s ancient and modern city lodged unexpectedly in the triangle of flat country between the Humber and the North Sea it is still as good a place to write in as any.

Better, in fact, than some. For a place cannot produce poems, it can only not prevent them, and Hull is good at that. It neither impresses nor insists. When your train comes to rest in Paragon Station against a row of docile buffers, you alight with an end-of-the-line sense of freedom. Outside is a working city, yet one neither clenched in the blackened grip of the industrial revolution nor hiding behind a cathedral to pretend it is York or Canterbury. Unpretentious, recent, full of shops and special offers like a television commercial, it might be Australia or America, until you come upon Trinity House or the Dock Offices. For Hull has its own unexpected elegances.

People are slow to leave it, quick to return. And there are others who come, as they think, for a year or two, and stay a lifetime, sensing that they have found a city that is in the world, yet sufficiently on the edge of it to have a different resonance. Behind Hull is the plain of Holderness, lonelier and lonelier, and after that the birds and lights of Spurn Head, and then the sea. One can go ten years without seeing these things, yet they are always there, giving Hull the air of having its face half-turned towards distance and silence, and what lies beyond them.

These poems are not about Hull, yet it is unseen in all of them, the permission of a town that lets you write."

Foreword by Philip Larkin for 'A Rumoured City: New Poets from Hull', an anthology of poems published in 1982.



Tags: Sculpture Black and white Hull Kingston upon hull Public art Banners Hull 2017 uk city of culture Hull 2017 Philip Larkin Paragon Station Martin Jennings

Voters: mrswoolybill, newbe2, kw and 35 more

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes

Comments


mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.5k 2066 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2019 6:22PM
I remember the sculpture, I didn't think to use this angle. Looking out with his eyes... He's so much a part of the place. Love it.

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Maiwand 12 3 73 England
26 Apr 2019 7:21PM
Excellent image with a stunning narrative.
Ron
paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2019 7:40PM

I knowa couple of Hull business men and they tell me the city of culture thing was a waste of time and did more harm than good? Obviously hearsay to me, but I was in a part of central Hull last week and it was rough' I suspect most cities are similar.

Paul
taggart Plus
15 47 13 United States
26 Apr 2019 8:53PM
A great text to enhance this fine bust! Thanks!!
taggart Plus
15 47 13 United States
26 Apr 2019 9:48PM
My husband tells me that students from his University were in an exchange program with students from Hull Univ. for a year or a semester abroad--- I gather it was not a poetry exchange,--- rather more a culture exchange!
Philip_H 7 12 United Kingdom
27 Apr 2019 8:32AM

Quote:My husband tells me that students from his University were in an exchange program with students from Hull Univ. for a year or a semester abroad--- I gather it was not a poetry exchange,--- rather more a culture exchange!


What a small world, Jenn.

Philip Larkin oversaw the construction of the Brynmor Jones Library at Hull University where he worked as a librarian for 30 years. The bronze statue of him at Hull's Paragon Station is by Martin Jennings and was unveiled on 2nd December 2010.

Even though Larkin only wrote four volumes of poetry in his lifetime, he came fifth in the BBC Poll for Nationís Favourite Poet in 2009, beating Thomas Hardy, William Wordsworth, William Blake and Dylan Thomas.

He was offered the position of Poet Laureate in 1984, but turned it down.

P Grin
xwang 10 56 8
28 Apr 2019 10:03AM
Well seen and taken image,..
I never took a photo of his statue whenever I got off the train in Hull,...must have one next time!Grin

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