Somewhere Becoming Rain
A love letter from one of the world's most critically acclaimed writers to one of its most cherished poets.
Clive James is a life-long admirer of the work of Philip Larkin. Somewhere Becoming Rain gathers all of James’s writing on this towering literary figure of the twentieth century, together with extra material now published for the first time.
The greatness of Larkin’s poetry continues to be obscured by the opprobrium attaching to his personal life and his private opinions. James writes about Larkin’s poems, his novels, his jazz and literary criticism; he also considers the two major biographies, Larkin’s letters and even his portrayal on stage in order to chart the extreme and, he argues, largely misguided equivocations about Larkin’s reputation in the years since his death.
Through this joyous and perceptive book, Larkin’s genius is delineated and celebrated. James argues that Larkin’s poems, adored by discriminating readers for over half a century, could only have been the product of his reticent, diffident, flawed, and all-too-human personality.
Few contemporary critics display the passionate commitment to the idea of poetry, and to the idea of poetry's centrality to civilized life, that James does
John Banville, New York Review of Books
To read a major critic on a major poet is one of the great pleasures. Clive James’s passion for the work of Philip Larkin, his intense scrutiny which reveals an extraordinary empathy makes Somewhere Becoming Rain: Collected Writings on Philip Larkin an outstanding book.
Melvyn Bragg, New Statesman, Books of the Year 2019
One of the most important and influential writers of our time
Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times