Literary Birthday – 21 February – W.H. Auden

W.H. Auden was born 21 February 1907, and died 29 September 1973.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Top 10 Quotes

  1. Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.
  2. A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.
  3.  A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us.
  4. Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.
  5. A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.
  6. Fame often makes a writer vain, but seldom makes him proud.
  7. Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.
  8. Good can imagine Evil; but Evil cannot imagine Good.
  9. In relation to a writer, most readers believe in the Double Standard: they may be unfaithful to him as often as they like, but he must never, never be unfaithful to them.
  10. A poet can write about a man slaying a dragon, but not about a man pushing a button that releases a bomb.

W. H. Auden was an Anglo-American poet. He was born in England and became an American citizen. He is regarded as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century for his ability to write poems in nearly every imaginable verse form. He is admired for incorporating popular culture, current events, and vernacular speech in his work. He had interests in an extraordinary variety of literatures, art forms, social and political theories, and scientific and technical information. He was a remarkable wit, and often mimicked the writing styles of other poets. He was a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1954 to 1973. His works include Tell Me the Truth About Love.

by Amanda Patterson

Are you interested in more authors’ birthdays? Please click here: Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 21st February 2013