Interviewer: You haven’t been to America, have you?
Larkin: Oh no, I’ve never been to America, nor to anywhere else, for that matter. Does that sound very snubbing? It isn’t meant to. I suppose I’m pretty unadventurous by nature, partly that isn’t the way I earn my living—reading and lecturing and taking classes and so on. I should hate it.
And of course I’m so deaf now that I shouldn’t dare. Someone would say, What about that Ashbery, and I’d say I’d prefer strawberry, that kind of thing. I suppose everyone has his own dream of America. A writer once said to me, If you ever go to America, go either to the East Coast or the West Coast; the rest is a desert of bigots. That’s what I think I’d like: where if you help a girl trim the Christmas tree you’re regarded as engaged, and her brothers start oiling their shotguns if you don’t call the minister. A version of the pastoral.