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Old 04-27-2017, 03:57 PM
Clive Watkins Clive Watkins is offline
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Default Notes from Auden Land

An interesting piece by Austin Allen "Notes from Auden Land: Why Auden is as essential to our times as Orwell": https://www.poetryfoundation.org/fea.../detail/141830.

Clive Watkins
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Old 04-28-2017, 07:36 AM
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Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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Thanks for the link, Clive. I love to read anything on Auden, and Jarrell is perhaps my favorite critic.

(Deleted rest of post. I need to get back to poetry. Sorry.)

Last edited by Michael Ferris; 04-28-2017 at 10:47 AM. Reason: thought better of it
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Old 04-29-2017, 03:24 AM
Gregory Dowling Gregory Dowling is offline
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Thanks, Clive. I think it's a marvellous essay. And it strengthens my conviction that Auden is one of the greatest poets of the last century. I love the final section of the essay on 'September 1, 1939'.
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Old 04-29-2017, 05:34 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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A good link. I enjoyed reading that. Thank you.

It's prompted me to share this (which I think is publicly available, not hidden for the delectation of subscribers only) - http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2014.../secret-auden/

Apologies if it's appeared here before.
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Old 04-29-2017, 03:35 PM
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William A. Baurle William A. Baurle is offline
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That's a great article, David.

And I agree, Gregory, that Auden was certainly one of the greatest C20 poets. There were so many great poets born in the last century that it's virtually impossible to say who was the greatest, but he might get my vote, along with Lowell, Hecht, and Wilbur. I'm far more familiar with American poets, but there are a slew of great English language poets born in C20 - like Walcott, just to name one.
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Old 04-29-2017, 03:53 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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I agree with Bill, that NYRB article is fine piece. Nice to hear about Auden the man as well as Auden the poet. I could study Auden more than I have.
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Old 04-29-2017, 04:08 PM
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William A. Baurle William A. Baurle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Isbell View Post
I agree with Bill, that NYRB article is fine piece. Nice to hear about Auden the man as well as Auden the poet. I could study Auden more than I have.
Yes indeed. I knew Auden was a very kind man, but I had no idea really of how kind he was. Sleeping outside of that woman's apartment, because she had "night terrors" - now that's something special.

I notice that Auden mentioned Lowell. I consider Robert Lowell's choice to go to prison rather than serve in WWII to be an act of courage, rather than cowardice. I know many people would think the exact opposite.

I think I would never do such a thing. I'd serve if I had to, feeling it was something of a duty, since I owe my freedom and security to people who have had the courage to serve and risk their lives, and give up their lives, unfortunately. I was extremely lucky to have been born when I was, and where I was - at West Point, no less.

That being said, Lowell's choice not to serve was an act of conscience, and came from his own sense of duty, and took a different sort of courage. He was no coward.

As an extremely claustrophobic person, being in a prison cell is a far more frightening prospect for me than being shot at.

Last edited by William A. Baurle; 04-29-2017 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 04-29-2017, 04:28 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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I also think publicly and conscientiously objecting to WW II would have been harder than doing so to Vietnam. Not a judgement of those wars per se, nor of the objectors, but of society's mood at the time.
Though American isolationism was going strong in 1940. I guess exact dates become important here, for both wartimes.

Update: to change the topic - reading some Hecht, whom I don't know well at all. Good stuff.

Last edited by John Isbell; 04-29-2017 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Hecht
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Old 04-29-2017, 05:35 PM
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William A. Baurle William A. Baurle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Isbell View Post
I also think publicly and conscientiously objecting to WW II would have been harder than doing so to Vietnam. Not a judgement of those wars per se, nor of the objectors, but of society's mood at the time.
Though American isolationism was going strong in 1940. I guess exact dates become important here, for both wartimes.

Update: to change the topic - reading some Hecht, whom I don't know well at all. Good stuff.
Anthony Hecht has some truly stunning poems. I have an edition of his first four books of poems put together in a single volume. Can't locate it at the moment. Look for The Venetian Vespers.

Good place to start here:

http://fortnightlyreview.co.uk/2013/...redible-hecht/

Added a wee snippet:

Where to begin? In a heaven of gold serifs
Or smooth and rounded loaves of risen gold
Formed into formal Caslon capitals
And graced with a pretzeled sinouous ampersand
Against a sanded ground of fire-truck red,...


Amazing.

Last edited by William A. Baurle; 04-29-2017 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 05-05-2017, 03:21 AM
Gregory Dowling Gregory Dowling is offline
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William, I agree that Hecht is amazing, and I have always loved that description of the A&P in the family-shop in "The Venetian Vespers". But I'm a little puzzled why you linked to that particular essay, which is an extremely negative piece, essentially damning Hecht for his baroque diction and "adjectival overload".

I've read other critics who don't like Hecht, but this is probably the most closely argued condemnation I've come across; however, I think, that apart from one or two cases, most of the charges he makes can be rebutted. I don't have time to do so right now but I would like to write an answer to this essay one day. Thanks for pointing it out, William - but I wonder if you had read it all the way through.
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