Andrei Navrozov, editor of The YalenLiterary Magazine and a contributingneditor for Harper’s, joins Chronicles ofnCulture this month as our poetry editor.nHis primary effort with Chroniclesnwill be in soliciting the verse of distinguishednEuropean poets, with the firstnfruits of his work appearing elsewherenin this issue (see “A Victorian Honeymoon”nby Vernon Scannell on pagen15), Below, Mr. Navrozov reflectsnupon the passing of one of Britain’snleading poets:nWhen Philip Larkin died on Decembern2, 1985, at age 63, the newsnappeared on the obituaries page of thennext day’s New York Times, just aboventhe mass grave of the previous day’sndeaths. Shll, the 12-paragraph itemndid justice to Larkin in describingnhim as “one of Britain’s best-lovednpoets.”nThere is little doubt that a hundrednyears from now literary historiaiis willnconsider Philip Larkin much less of annanomaly, which is how today’s observersnof the “poetry scene” must perceivenhim. Obituaries page or not,nLarkin was famous, in America as wellnas in Britain; front page or not, Larkinnwas a good poet. The overlappingnof these two qualities is so rare in ourntime that the life and death of the mannvisited by such rare good fortune takesnon a significance beyond anynobjective evaluations of his literarynachievement.nThat our time is a good time fornpoetry and a bad time for poets is antruism. Philip Larkin’s contemporaries,nolder and younger, still writing innEngland today, include Charles Causley,nRoy Fuller, John Heath-Stubbs,nGeoffrey Hill, Vernon Scannell,nLaurie Lee, and dozens of othersn-whose achievement may, in the end,nequal or surpass Larkin’s; yet hownmany in America, or for that matterneven in England, can locate thesennames on the map of literary celebrity?nAnd if one asks about the youngern61 CHRONICLES OF CULTUREnCULTURAL REVOLUTIONSngeneration, poets like P.J. Kavanaghnare probably not even in the Times’nobituary files. It is also true that therenare several other good poets whosenfame approaches Larkin’s; but thengood luck of Seamus Heaney has morento do with civil unrest in Ireland thannwith his verse, while Joseph Brodskynwould probably have died in obscuritynby now had it not been for the luckynbreak of his scandalous exile fromnSoviet Russia. The amazing good fortunenof Philip Larkin was that henachieved his fame working as a librariannand living as one.nIn 1975, in the summer of my ,nfreshman year at Yale, I came across anLarkin poem in a bookshop. “Thentrees are coming into leaf,” it began,n”Like something almost being said.”nWhen, six lines and an hour later, Inreached the end—nYet shll the unresting castiesnthreshnIn fullgrown thickness everynMay.nLast year is dead, they seem tonsay.nBeing afresh, afresh, afresh.n— I felt the kind of numbness onenexperiences on being told some very,nvery good and very, very importantnnews.nPoetry’s advantage over life is that itsnnews stays news, in Pound’s phrase,nand Philip Larkin has been my newsnsource ever since. In time, I discoverednthat he had been known to othersnfor years; but when I began reading hisnpeers and asking about them, I begannto perceive the enormous injustice ofnthe situation: his was the only namenpeople knew. But, I reasoned, at leastnthey knew Larkin!nAsked why I decided to buy The YalenLiterary Magazine, then bankrupt, Inwould always answer that my ambitionnin life was to find the poet born tontranslate Rilk’e into English and publishnhim. As of this writing, my ambidonnremains unfulfilled, but what Inhave found since that time are thennnliving wellsprings of contemporary poetry.nIt was Larkin who led me tonthem; he was the visible key to anninvisible kingdom whose news nevernreached the Times. In gratitude, wenopened our first issue with “ThenTrees”; we were grateful to him for hisnfame as well as for his genius. Obituarynpage or front page, both are shllnalive, and so are the grahtude and thenmemorv. ccnAcademic freedom at Stanford—thensaga continues. First it was Vice AdmiralnJames Stoekdale, recipient of thenCongressional Medal of Honor for hisnheroic leadership as senior POW officernin Vietnam. He was booted out ofnStanford’s classrooms last fall, apparentiynbecause he was too fond of hisncountry, too hard on communists, andnfar too popular with students to pleasenthe faculty. Now Steven Mosher, andoctoral candidate in anthropology,nhas been finally dismissed from thenuniversity and denied his degree.nMosher’s doctoral research had exposednhow Chinese communists havenforced tens of thousands of women tonsubmit to compulsory abortion andnhave fostered the practice of infanticide.nNot surprisingly, the academicnrevolutionaries at Stanford were notnhappy with his findings.nFirst Mosher was dismissed by thenanthropology department for “behaiorninappropriate for an anthropologist.n” (After revelations about MargaretnMead’s research methods and sex life,nit’s hard to know what inappropriatenmeans in this context.) When thendismissal was appealed, Stanford PresidentnDonald Kennedy upheld the decisionnin a 35-page letter focusing onnthe ways in which Mosher had allegedlyneroded “the necessary relationshipnbetween faculty and student.” Kennedynadmitted the flimsy grounds ofnsome of the original accusationsnagainst Mosher, which were based onnstatements by his alienated formernwife. But Kennedy alleged thatn