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Unpublished Philip Larkin poem found in a shoebox

An unpublished poem by Philip Larkin has been discovered 25 years after the British poet’s death. A producer working on a documentary about Larkin’s romantic relationship with his secretary, Betty Mackereth, spotted the poem, entitled “Dear Jake,” in a shoebox. The piece was written the year Larkin started seing his secretary outside of work and, according to the Guardian, it sheds light on their relationship:

[T]he manuscript was enclosed with a card from Larkin saying, “This is for you. You can sell it later on,” and explaining that it should be read in conjunction with “Posterity”, his 1968 poem imagining a cynical biographer misunderstanding his life.

The former poet laureate, Andrew Motion, who first revealed the relationship in a biography of Larkin published in 1993 … said that while the poem is “not absolutely premier division Larkin”, it is a marvellous discovery.

“It’s a little, new piece of the jigsaw,” he said, “which gives a very sweet and touching picture of this episode of his life.”