Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Loved this headline in The Age on Monday. Hers is the dfirst part of the story:

THERE were poets galore at the writers' festival at the weekend. Many in person, some in reputation.
The biggest name was W. H. Auden, the centenary of whose birth is this year.
Two polished and packed craniums in the shape of Clive James and John Clarke traded their enthusiasm for the great wrinkled face of 20th-century poetry and dazzled with the amount of stuff they knew by heart.
Auden was the giant, said James, his poetry torrential, "he wrote to breathe". His influence was huge. The great Australian poet A. D. Hope claimed to despise him, but Auden's influence was everywhere in Hope's poetry, said James.
The sad thing was that after Auden left Britain for the United States in 1939, the quality of his work gradually declined.
But he still produced masterpieces such as September 1, 1939, which Clarke read. ("I sit in one of the dives/ On Fifty-second Street/ Uncertain and afraid/ As the clever hopes expire/ Of a low dishonest decade.")

Cecil Beaton pic of Auden taken in 1953 from Wikipedia website.

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