Literary Birthday – 28 February – Stephen Spender

Stephen Spender was born 28 February 1909, and died 16 July 1995.

Seven Quotes

  1. Great poetry is always written by somebody straining to go beyond what he can do.
  2. All that you can imagine you already know.
  3. There is a certain justice in criticism. The critic is like a midwife — a tyrannical midwife.
  4. When you read and understand a poem, comprehending its rich and formal meanings, then you master chaos a little.
  5. Sometimes when I am writing, I am aware of a rhythm, a dance, a fury, which is as yet empty of words.
  6. One type of concentration is immediate and complete, as it was with Mozart. The other is plodding and only completed in stages, as with Beethoven. Thus genius works in different ways to achieve its ends.
  7. A poet can only write about what is true to his own experience, not about what he would like to be true to his experience.

Stephen Spender was an English poet, novelist, and essayist. He was a member of the generation of British poets in the 1930s who are sometimes called the Oxford Poets. His memoir, World Within World: The Autobiography of Stephen Spender, contains vivid portraits of Virginia Woolf, W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood and many other prominent literary figures. He was the 17th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the United States Library of Congress.

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 28th February 2014