The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 24, 2012

Reminder: Larkin event tonight (and two poems for those who can't make it)

Everyone here at FSG is pretty jazzed up about the incredible Philip Larkin tribute planned for tonight to celebrate the publication of his collected poems.

Readings will be given by Billy Collins, J.D. McClatchy, Zadie Smith, Andrew Sullivan and our very own Jonathan Galassi, among others. The Queens College jazz band will be performing some of Larkin's favorite jazz by Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Sidney Bechet, and Duke Ellington live.

Best of all? Admission is free.

April 24 / 7:00 p.m. / The Great Hall at Cooper Union 7 E. 7th St., at Third Ave., New York, N.Y. / 212-353-4100 /


For those who can't make the event, feel free to get your Larkin fix from David Orr, over at NPR Books. He wrote up a lovely piece entitled "Grief in Greenness" last week, featuring the two spring-themed poems from Larkin below.


On longer evenings,
Light, chill and yellow,
Bathes the serene
Foreheads of houses.
A thrush sings,
In the deep bare garden,
Its fresh-peeled voice
Astonishing the brickwork.
It will be spring soon,
It will be spring soon —
And I, whose childhood
Is a forgotten boredom,
Feel like a child
Who comes on a scene
Of adult reconciling,
And can understand nothing
But the unusual laughter,
And starts to be happy.


"The Trees"

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.


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