Broadcaster: BBC FOUR
Genre: Poetry, Documentary
Review by: Lerah Mae Barcenilla
With upbeat jazz notes in the background, Sir Andrew Motion discovers an unpublished Philip Larkin poem and uncovers more of the poet’s life in this thirty-minute documentary titled ‘Philip Larkin and the Third Woman.’ Sir Andrew Motion travels to Hull to visit one of the poet’s ex-lovers and late muse, Betty Mackereth, as she speaks of her love for the first time.
This documentary is particularly relevant and potentially useful to students studying Contemporary and Post-War Literature and related modules. With comments from Professor James Booth of University of Hull, this documentary provides contextual information about Larkin’s time in Hull, his multiple relationships and unpublished poems – allowing a starting point for further research on the points and questions raised.
And I’ll leave you with this fun, little unpublished poem from Philip Larkin (which you can hear read aloud in the documentary above):
Apples on a Christmas tree!
Or are they tomatoes?
Such teasing ambiguity
No sensible art owes
We sing the annual mystery
In churches and chapels
– But tomatoes on a Christmas tree!
Or are they apples?