Somewhere Becoming Rain

Clive James

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03 October 2019
540 minutes

Clive James is a long-time fan of the work of Philip Larkin. Somewhere Becoming Rain gathers all of James’s writing on this towering literary figure of the twentieth century.

James writes about Larkin’s poems, his novels, his jazz and literary criticism, and more; 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, misguided decline in Larkin’s reputation in the years since his death.

Through James’s passionate and perceptive book, Larkin emerges as a devoted artist, and we come to see that his great poems, adored for over half a century by readers everywhere, could only have been the product of his oft-derided and much-misunderstood personality.

Erudite and entertaining in equal measure, Somewhere Becoming Rain is a love letter from one of the world’s best living writers to one of its most cherished poets. And who could be better placed to show us Larkin’s genius afresh than James – it takes one to know one, after all.

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

One of the most important and influential writers of our time

Bryan Appleyard - Sunday Times