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View Poll Results: Rate it below, or expand if no choice applies to you:
5 Stars: A masterpiece 0 0%
4 Stars: A strong poem, but some elements didn't appeal to me 5 23.81%
3 Stars: A good poem, but it didn't move me to any great extent 3 14.29%
2 Stars: A flawed or uninspiring piece of work 8 38.10%
1 Star: Does absolutely nothing for me 5 23.81%
Voters: 21. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-08-2005, 09:16 PM   #1
William Haskins
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Rate-a-Poem: A Study of Reading Habits

By Philip Larkin
1922-1985

A Study of Reading Habits

When getting my nose in a book
Cured most things short of school,
It was worth ruining my eyes
To know I could still keep cool,
And deal out the old right hook
To dirty dogs twice my size.

Later, with inch-thick specs,
Evil was just my lark:
Me and my coat and fangs
Had ripping times in the dark.
The women I clubbed with sex!
I broke them up like meringues.

Don't read much now: the dude
Who lets the girl down before
The hero arrives, the chap
Who's yellow and keeps the store
Seem far too familiar. Get stewed:
Books are a load of crap.
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Old 12-08-2005, 09:31 PM   #2
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Yes, I am the 1-star rating. I found this one pretty hard to get through. The cadence, the subject—it just isn't smooth and metaphorical enough for me. I am also feeling pretty cranky this morning, so the world's looking fairly black-and-white today.
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Old 12-08-2005, 09:54 PM   #3
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Yup, this one's a one for me, too. Even the rhyme and meter self-destruct in this one. (William...got any upbeat, socially redeeming poems coming up?)
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Old 12-09-2005, 01:06 AM   #4
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This guy tried hard to write some poetry............I think he was "crying in his beer" when he wrote it. I'm sure alot of male types who followed this particular path see themselves in the piece. The whole wanting to be larger than life, the conquering, rebel, sex machine to prove his worth (to himself) at the cost of his being then ending up identifying with the mass of self-imposed losers drowning in self pity, living off self-constructed myths of lost grandeur. He probably gained some sort of notoriety or something. I guess I look at things more from a pscho/spiritual perspective.
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Old 12-09-2005, 01:09 AM   #5
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To the guys credit: Maybe he wasn't writing from his own life perspective but rather an observation of people who took this life path and what the author perceived to be the inevitable consequences.
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Old 12-09-2005, 11:51 PM   #6
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like the bunny says - the cadence is rather off-putting. I started to get into it, then - trip. Start over - trip. The last line s****d. Other than that, I liked it all right.
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Old 12-10-2005, 12:10 AM   #7
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I kept almost liking it. How very frustrating. Kind of like almost getting to sneeze.
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Old 12-10-2005, 02:12 AM   #8
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Knowing a little about Larkin's history and his approach to life, I can see where he was going with the "trip-step" rythmn I wouldn't rate this as a "masterpiece", but it is still a very strong poem, albeit from a very strange man with very wierd views on life :-)

My favourite Larkin will always be "This be the Verse", if only because we got to say f**k to the teacher ;-)
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Old 12-28-2005, 11:38 PM   #9
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Relieved to know I wasn't the only one who gave it a 2 or lower...
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:13 PM   #10
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I don't think he was talking about doing these things at all. He was talking about reading about them, and identifying with the characters in the stories, living vicariously through them. As a dopey ignorant kid.

The narrator is not the loser shuffling through the losses of his burnt-out stupid days. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Just the opposite. He's the person realizing the silly nature of that sort of thing, and of his earlier identifications. Life is more complicated than that, of course, and deeper. In comparison, his imaginative plunges through the worlds of fiction come up wanting. It's mostly a bunch of cliches: Get stewed: Books are a load of crap.
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Old 04-18-2011, 01:25 PM   #11
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interesting - and boring...forgettably memorable and uninspired reactionary claptrap.
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Old 04-27-2011, 04:35 PM   #12
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I found that one first reading I thought one; it seemed almost amateurish. I had the got it, lost it problem someone mentioned earlier. Then on re-reading it I found the rhythm just like that and it went from being amateurish to well written. A bit uninspiring but not horrible. Made me wonder how many poems I had misjudged like that on the basis of not taking enough time with my reading.
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:31 AM   #13
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I gave this a 3. Wanted to give it a 4, but it's more 3 1/2. And I gave the Bukowski one a 4; this one isn't quite as good.

I don't think the rhythm is that bad though. And the last line I interpret as comedic. He's a writer telling people to stop reading. That's actually my favorite part of the poem.
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