Poetry News

Larkin's Glasses on Display at Hospital

By Harriet Staff

From Hull and East Riding:

An eye-catching spectacle will now greet patients at a Hull clinic.

Three pairs of poet Philip Larkin's glasses form part of the artwork on display at Hull and East Yorkshire Eye Hospital off Anlaby Road.

The clinic, which opened six months ago, was thought to be the perfect setting to show off some of Larkin's eyewear.

A display, showing three pairs of his glasses and a poem was unveiled by Hull West MP, Alan Johnson yesterday.

He said: "I wouldn't say Philip Larkin himself would be quite so chuffed with being associated with the NHS – he was a hypochondriac.

"But this display has married two subjects I am very passionate about – the NHS and Philip Larkin.

"When I came to Hull, Philip Larkin's association with the city was not widely known outside the university, even though his poetry was all about Hull and East Yorkshire.

"Now we've had the toads and Larkin Trail, the statue in Paragon Station and this exhibition.

"I know fashions come and go but we should be proud that, although he came from Coventry, Larkin was a citizen of Hull."

The artwork is separated into three areas.

A display of photographs showing the Larkin Toads is in the children's area, while snaps of places he wrote about are in the main entranceway.

Larkin's spectacles and pictures of the poet are near the reception area.

Experts at the hospital were able to look at the glasses and work out Larkin's prescription, and how his eyesight had worsened over the years.

Information texts next to the pairs of glasses are written in the same font used for the Snellon Eye Chart and are in a black font on yellow background – the easiest type of writing to read.

A copy of his poem Long Sight In Age is also displayed, with each line getting smaller as it goes down the page – just like an eye chart.

Full article here.

Originally Published: October 9th, 2012
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