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Wystan Hugh Auden was born in York, England, on February 21, 1907. He moved to Birmingham during childhood and was educated at Christ Church, Oxford. As a young man he was influenced by the poetry ofThomas HardyandRobert Frost, as well asWilliam BlakeEmily DickinsonGerard Manley Hopkins, and Old English verse. At Oxford his precocity as a poet was immediately apparent, and he formed lifelong friendships with two fellow writers,Stephen Spenderand Christopher Isherwood.

In 1928, his collectionPoemswas privately printed, but it wasnt until 1930, when another collection titledPoems(though its contents were different) was published, that Auden was established as the leading voice of a new generation.

Ever since, he has been admired for his unsurpassed technical virtuosity and an ability to write poems in nearly every imaginable verse form; the incorporation in his work of popular culture, current events, and vernacular speech; and also for the vast range of his intellect, which drew easily from an extraordinary variety of literatures, art forms, social and political theories, and scientific and technical information. He had a remarkable wit, and often mimicked the writing styles of other poets such as Dickinson,W. B. Yeats, and Henry James. His poetry frequently recounts, literally or metaphorically, a journey or quest, and his travels provided rich material for his verse.

He visited Germany, Iceland, and China, served in the Spanish Civil war, and in 1939 moved to the United States, where he met his lover, Chester Kallman, and became an American citizen. His own beliefs changed radically between his youthful career in England, when he was an ardent advocate of socialism and Freudian psychoanalysis, and his later phase in America, when his central preoccupation became Christianity and the theology of modern Protestant theologians. A prolific writer, Auden was also a noted playwright, librettist, editor, and essayist. Generally considered the greatest English poet of the twentieth century, his work has exerted a major influence on succeeding generations of poets on both sides of the Atlantic.

W. H. Auden served as aof the Academy of American Poets from 1954 to 1973, and divided most of the second half of his life between residences in New York City and Austria. He died in Vienna on September 29, 1973.

Thank You, Fog: Last Poems(Random House, 1974)

City Without Walls and Other Poems(Random House, 1969)

Collected Shorter Poems 1927-1957(Faber and Faber, 1966)

Collected Shorter Poems 1930-1944(Faber and Faber, 1950)

The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue(Random House, 1947)

The Collected Poetry of W. H. Auden(Random House, 1945)

The Dyers Hand and Other Essays(Random House, 1962)

The Dog Beneath the Skin: or, Where is Francis?(Faber and Faber, 1935)

The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,

The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.

The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,

The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;

The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,

The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,

And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.

When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the

And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly

And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his

As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

You were silly like us; your gift survived it all: The parish of rich women, physical decay, Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry. Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still, For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives In the valley of its making where executives Would never want to tamper, flows on south From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs, Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives, A way of happening, a mouth.

Earth, receive an honoured guest: William Yeats is laid to rest. Let the Irish vessel lie Emptied of its poetry. In the nightmare of the dark All the dogs of Europe bark, And the living nations wait, Each sequestered in its hate; Intellectual disgrace Stares from every human face, And the seas of pity lie Locked and frozen in each eye. Follow, poet, follow right To the bottom of the night, With your unconstraining voice Still persuade us to rejoice; With the farming of a verse Make a vineyard of the curse, Sing of human unsuccess In a rapture of distress; In the deserts of the heart Let the healing fountain start, In the prison of his days Teach the free man how to praise.

FromAnother Timeby W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1940 W. H. Auden, renewed by the Estate of W. H. Auden. Used by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

FromAnother Timeby W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1940 W. H. Auden, renewed by the Estate of W. H. Auden. Used by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

W. H. Auden was admired for his unsurpassed technical virtuosity and ability to write poems in nearly every imaginable verse form; his incorporation of popular culture, current events, and vernacular speech in his work; and also for the vast range of his intellect, which drew easily from an extraordinary variety of literatures, art forms, social and political theories, and scientific and technical information.

When there are so many we shall have to mourn, when grief has been made so public, and exposed to the critique of a whole epoch the frailty of our conscience and anguish, of whom shall we speak? For every day they die among us, those who were doing us some good, who knew it was never enough but

Among pelagian travelers, Lost on their lewd conceited way To Massachusetts, Michigan, Miami or L.A., An airborne instrument I sit, Predestined nightly to fulfill Columbia-Giesen-Managements Unfathomable will, By whose election justified, I bring my gospel of the Muse To fundamentalists, to nuns, to Gentiles

I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth, Obsessing our private lives; The unmentionable odour of death Offends the September night. Accurate

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