She was only the ornithologist’s daughter, but she did it for a lark. Or, to bring it up to date, only the ornithologist’s offspring.

So much for the non-PC stuff. Somebody passed on to me three publications by the late Philip Larkin (High Windows, The North Ship and Required Reading). I can’t remember reading any Larkin, though I know what he said about our parents. That raises the conundrum, for people like me, of whether we should go for blaming the adoptive, or biological ones, and erring on the safe side seems to suggest both.

That’s not what this is about though. It’s about the realisation (which has crept in over years, rather than suddenly), that I don’t buy many poetry books. Partly that’s because I’m spoilt for choice, and most of them will be disappointing (and money has always been tight – at least in a local context). Over and again, magazine editors in the small press world have made the point that if everyone who submitted bought a (bloody*) copy they would be laughing. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, ha!

We don’t of course, and all sorts of inhibitions, critical judgements and parsimonies prevent us. It occurred to me though, perhaps because of the time of year – when humbug is in season – that if we were to buy such publications (and not only poetry, but short stories too, or even books of essays, hmn?) and give one to our friends – two to enemies – we all might be laughing: Hahahahahahahahahahah, haha!

I shall look forward to reading the PL, especially the RW.

*in deference to the article on Radio 4 ‘this’ morning that told us swearing is good for us WTF? Ed.)

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