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May 28, 2004
They Fuck You Up, The F-C-C; They May Not Mean To But They Do
A new edition of the Collected Poems of Philip Larkin, one of Britain's most celebrated modern poets, is issued and Slate discusses the controversial new book; controversial, that is, for the editorial decisions made (The Poet of Dirty Words). Rather than start with the editorial controversy, however, we live in an America where the review must start with a note that one of the English language's most famous modern poems and much of the work of a great modern poet cannot be recited during the day on radio or television thanks to the FCC.
They fuck you up, your mum and dad,
They may not mean to but they do
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old style hats and coats
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can
And don't have any kids yourself.
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