Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis: High Windows is a collection of some of Philip Larkin’s most famous and well-loved poetry. He received a number of awards for his poems, including the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and the WH Smith Award.
Review: At a slim 42 pages, High Windows is a bit of a contrast to the last book I reviewed, The Count of Monte Cristo! In spite of its petite length, I worried that reading poetry, a very new experience for me, was going to become tedious and heavy. I thought it may end up as something I did more to ‘expand my literary horizons’ than for pure enjoyment.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to find High Windows relatively light reading! Although I can’t compare to other poetry books (this being my first expedition into the poetic world!) I thought Larkin’s collection was easy to dip in and out of. The poems were short at only 2-3 pages each, so I could read a couple here and there – whether it was before bed, on my lunch break or on the bus. As the poems have no connection to each other, there is no need to remember plots or characters. In some ways, this made it a less taxing read than many novels!
Larkin writes beautifully but simply, with a wonderful economy of expression. This style means his poems are not too obscure or taxing to read, yet they remain intriguing and thought-provoking. I was amazed at the sweeping range of the collection, taking readers from the seaside to hospitals, then on to village fetes. The collection focusses on everyday experiences that are easy to identify with but is not mundane in the slightest. Larkin deals with timeless, striking ideas from the role of humans in our environment to the thought of growing old.
I would highly recommend this collection to anyone looking to try out reading some poetry in 2018!
…a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can’t come again,
But is for others undiminished.
Read if: you want to dip your toe into the breath-taking world of poetry.
Cover image courtesy of Goodreads.
Please do share your thoughts on High Windows, or reading poetry in general, by commenting below! I would love to hear from you.