W. H. Auden
Wystan Hugh Auden (1907–73) was an Anglo-American poet. His works include Spain (1937), For the Time Being (1945), The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue (1948), Collected Shorter Poems, 1930-1944 (1950), Making, Knowing, and Judging (1956), The Dyer's Hand (1962), and Collected Poems (1976). He won a Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Anxiety.
He wrote in a poem called On the Circuit:
- God bless the lot of them, although I don't remember which was which
- God bless the U.S.A., so large, so friendly, and so rich.
Life and Works
Auden was born February 21, 1907, in York, England, to a doctor and an Anglican, and attended Oxford University. After attending Oxford with scientific training, he became interested in modernist poetry, and joined a sort of gang that spoke of fascism, praised youth, and believed Freudian doctrines, a group later called the "Auden Generation," or the "Oxford Group." He loathed the beauty of Romantic poets such as Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats, and wrote poems such as "Grub First, then Ethics." He left to travel the world, including his native Iceland, and to serve in the Spanish Civil War, married to become a U.S. citizen, and gave up his love of psychoanalysis and socialism and became a Christian. It is said that he wrote his best poems, including "Stop All the Clocks," ("Funeral Blues,"), during the 1930s. His poetry began with Poems in 1928 and continued to appear in an impressive variety of verse forms. After the Second World War, he showed mastery in both symbolism and technical science, and wrote librettos with the help of his lover, Chester Kallman. He produced many great works at the time, including Another Time (1940), For the Time Being, several classical-style poems based on patterns, and The Rake's Progress (1951), a libretto written for Igor Stravinsky. He died September 29, 1973.
- The New York Public Library Student's Desk Reference. Prentice Hall, New York, 1993.
- "Auden, W. H." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.