Unpublished Philip Larkin poem found

  • Published
Philip Larkin
Image caption,
Larkin died in December 1985 at the age of 63

A newly-discovered poem by Philip Larkin will be heard for the first time on a BBC TV documentary about his relationship with his secretary.

The unpublished poem, Dear Jake, was among other rarely-seen works found in a lost notebook by producers of Philip Larkin and the Third Woman.

The poems, sent in 1976 to his secretary of 28 years Betty Mackereth - now 87 - reveal her as a muse.

In the programme, she speaks for the first time about being his lover.

'Emotional kick'

Larkin is known for his relationships with two women, Monica Jones and Maeve Brennan, who are buried close to him in Cottingham cemetery near his adopted home city of Hull.

Image caption,
Betty Mackereth was Larkin's secretary for 28 years

In the documentary, which marks the 25th anniversary of Larkin's death at the age of 63, Ms Mackereth speaks for the first time about their love affair, which was only recently revealed.

Larkin biographer Sir Andrew Motion said Dear Jake, which programme-makers say has only been seen by Larkin and Ms Mackereth, was "a rather amazing and wonderful" discovery.

Larkin expert Professor James Booth of Hull University, said: "What we have here is another poem in the sequence of poems written to Betty where she appears to him, in my view, as a muse of vitality and longevity, with a genuine emotional kick.

"This is quite a find."

Philip Larkin and the Third Woman will be broadcast on Sunday at 1800 GMT on BBC One in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. It will also be shown nationwide on Tuesday at 2000 GMT on BBC Four.

Around the BBC

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.