Larkin poem about affair with secretary found: report

Mon Dec 6, 2010 11:01am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - A newly discovered work by English poet Philip Larkin to his secretary and lover Betty Mackereth has been unveiled by the BBC.

In a documentary, "Philip Larkin and the Third Woman," Mackereth, now 87 and Larkin's secretary for 28 years, spoke for the first time about being his lover, according to the broadcaster.

The program, marking the 25th anniversary of the poet's death aged 63, was aired on Sunday in northern England and will be broadcast nationwide on BBC4 on Tuesday.

Producers found the unpublished poem called "Dear Jake" in a lost Larkin notebook.

Larkin expert professor James Booth of Hull University, told the BBC: "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."

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)