Choosing the title for ‘Ignoring Gravity’

My first novel Ignoring Gravity had a variety of working titles, but was generally referred to as ‘Rose’. This was both in my own head, and by my family and friends. “How’s Rose?” they would ask, as if she were real. And of course, to me, she was, she still is despite having completed that first novel and embarked on the sequel. Finally, I have to thank Philip Larkin.

I still have a Word document entitled ‘alternative titles’. Most were based on the themes of adoption and identity, nature or nuture, central to my story. Some corny, all just plain wrong.

The Dark Secret
Ancestral Voices
Most Secret Rose
Finding Rose
Losing Rose
The Searcher
Father Unknown
Singularity Philip Larkin

And then one day, leafing through Collected Poems by Philip Larkin, I read this poem.



I had read through goodness knows how many poetry anthologies, looking for inspiration. As soon as I read ‘Love’, I knew I had the title of my novel, Ignoring Gravity. Thank you Philip Larkin.

“The difficult part of love
Is being selfish enough,
Is having the blind persistence
To upset an existence
Just for your own sake.
What cheek it must take.

And then the unselfish side –
How can you be satisfied,
Putting someone else first
So that you come off worst?
My life is for me.
As well ignore gravity.

Still, vicious or virtuous,
Love suits most of us.
Only the bleeder found
Selfish this wrong way round
Is ever wholly rebuffed,
And he can get stuffed.”

In 2013 the original handwritten copy of this poem, written in 1962 when Larkin was librarian at Hull University, sold at Bonhams for £7,500.

Ignoring Gravity


‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now

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Choosing the title for IGNORING GRAVITY #amwriting #poetry via @SandraDanby