Poet's 'graceless' home for sale

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The Independent Online

When the estate agents selling 105 Newland Park in Hull show it to prospective buyers, they may quietly ignore questions about the verdict of its former owner, one Philip Larkin.

The four-bedroom house close to the city's university was blamed by the former poet laureate for giving him writer's block, and drew his some of famously excoriating criticism. By the time of his death in 1985, Larkin had variously described his home as being "the wrong shape", "fearfully graceless" and an "utterly undistinguished little house". The property was this week put on the market for £165,000 after the death of the poet's girlfriend Monica Jones, who had inherited it.

Larkin, head librarian at Hull University, bought the house in 1974 and later complained he could not write his poems while inside. One of his few notable works from the time was "The Mower", a poem written in 1979 describing the death of a hedgehog as he mowed the lawn.

Hull City Council and the Philip Larkin Society hope to raise enough to bring the house into public ownership and instal a "writer in residence".

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